The Seventh Day
On the grass, under the pines, I sit up starkly, for even to recline reminds me of the stances of love, and I am unable to bear the pain of so much remembering. Elizabeth Smart
On the seventh day, God rested. He's long forgotten why or how; it's a sentence from his past, devoid of meaning, but on the seventh day, he too always stops and rests. A ritual of some sort that he doesn't really remember starting anymore as the years stretch and the memories become harder to find. On the seventh day, he goes home through the fields, running at full speed in remembrance of when he couldn't fly, running at full speed to leave scorched scars in the corn, just because he can. On the seventh day, he remembers.
He remembers his mother teaching him how to read, back when he still couldn't talk. They used to sit on the couch every day, and she would read him a chapter of a big book that talked about God and miracles. She would spell out the letters for him before reading the words, letters he could find as magnets back on the board in his room, and he had felt so proud the first time he'd shuffled them right. Her hands had felt soft over his as she traced that first word with him, and she'd whispered words of love as she hugged him that day. She had a bright smile and shiny red hair, and she was always there when he was scared or alone. He used to bury his head in her hair when there were storms. He can still remember how safe he felt in her arms.
He remembers his father teaching him how to drive, back when he was small enough not to even see the tractor's driving seat while standing next to it. His first exercise had been driving around the back field and he sat on his father's knees that day, turning the wheel while his dad shifted the gears and moved the pedals for him. He had made it to the entrance of the farm, and there had been so much happiness in his father's eyes, so much pride, that he'd felt like a man for the first time. His father smelled like cut hay and sweat, like hard work and exhaustion, a lot like love also. A tall and strong man, kind in his own way, and he'd wanted to grow up to be his dad. He can still remember the weight of his father's pride.
He remembers his first friend, one small guy that started to talk to him one day while he was playing in front of his house. He didn't know what to say then, his head full of words he couldn't string together yet; full of other words that made no sense at all, that he's never heard since. He didn't know how to talk but he knew how to smile, and the smile they shared that day was enough to forge a friendship that would last a lifetime. A friendship strong enough to survive secrets at a time when he hadn't known how to trust, strong enough to keep them close in spite of these secrets. There had been fights, of course, but they never lost the smiles that didn't need words all through the years. He can still remember the red fireman truck they played with that first day.
He remembers his second friend, a city girl that spoke a thousand words a minute and had declared she'd marry him the first day they met. He loved her laugh and her smile, and the way both got brighter when he was there. The clothes she wore had made people wonder about her taste more than once, but she called it style and he liked the way she didn't care what people said. She used to drink so much coffee they gave her own discount card at the Talon, but claimed she needed it to keep her brain caught up with Smallville weirdness, and she examined everything with an insatiable curiosity, looking for hidden meanings and truths. That passion had driven her away after a while, to seek better truths away in a dark city he can't remember the name of anymore, to seek better truths than the one he couldn't give her. He can still remember the bubblegum taste of their first kiss.
He remembers his third friend, a girl so beautiful he'd thought she could eclipse the sun. A fairy tale princess, born from someone else's dream, and he'd been desperately in love with her before he understood perfect didn't mean ideal. She had been the perfect cheerleader, the perfect waitress, the perfect girlfriend to a small-town war hero. She used to give him perfect kisses under moonlight, perfect strolls in the dark, perfect sways on her porch glider, and perfect sweet sighs when he grew bold and wanted more. He can still remember how utterly perfect she looked when she married someone who wasn't him.
He remembers his last friend, a friendship born out of necessity, of gratitude, born between two people so different they should never have met. A boy wearing his name like a bane, like a warning, and he can't forget how hard it had been, how many errors he'd made, how many obstacles had been thrown in their ways. How close they'd both come to losing everything too many times. There had been fights, resentments, estrangement even, but also confidences, shared secrets and trust. There had been love at last. So much love he can still feel it now, and it still shines through their eyes in the one picture that has survived. He can still feel their breaths mingling late at night, feel the warmth of their skin sliding against each other. Still feel the love beneath it all, the love that made every sacrifices bearable, that kept him safe in a way nothing else could. He can still remember the sheer bliss there was in finding the other part of his soul.
On the seventh day, God rested. And on each seventh day, alone in a cemetery long forgotten, Superman cries.