How marvellous it would be to be deemed a hero. Someone admired for his or her outstanding achievements, even to have superhuman qualities that the common man does not possess. The clear definition of a hero.
But is that really being a hero? Is it heroic? I am not so sure. Can't a hero be someone who has tears? Tears that well up and cannot be shed? Can't a hero feel things in the world that others do not? Is being called sensitive in essence a hero?
The small individuals out there must be heroes too. The trash collector who came to the house this morning at eight thirty a.m. when we were awoken by his nasty truck outside the gate. He was here to pick up a late bin, one that he missed last Thursday. He is a hero because he opened the blue gates and stole around the back of the house to retrieve the bin, he then carried it out to the monstrous truck and stood back as it gobbled up our debris, our carrot peel and avocado skins, our slimy paper towels stiff with olive oil, our discarded coffee grains. He is a silent hero, one that will never receive recognition. There is Cepta too, my all time hero. She is a check out person at the local grocery store. Each day she is pleasant and courteous. She walks to work, has a dog, goes quietly about her day, draws me in, into her attitude, an attitude that people pay money for over a life time to achieve. There is pleasure in her day. Conveyor belt passing along necessities, tea and broccoli and instant baby food and diapers and herbal shampoo and she still smiles. She is my hero.
Jimmy comes to the door. How much oil do you want? He fills the oil tank for the central heating with a chirpy attitude, his uneven whistle lingers in the air. When he comes to the back door for payment we make small talk, he tells me about New York and his cousins wedding. He, too, passes the day with a carefree joy. I envy them. I envy the trash man. I envy Cepta and Jimmy. They are the silent heroes. The ones I cry for. Maybe I am not crying for them but for myself. All I have is an empty house of dreams. But if you dare look beyond the window, you will see that the heroes are everywhere, walking silently and steadily through life, like fragmented dreams.
© Mary Wilkinson, 2009