essays by shé

Bat Signal

I bought the ring after Emmett died. When you pressed the button on the side, the Bat Signal lit up. It was hugely satisfying. John and I used to tear around the house with towels around our necks, fighting crime. Nanananananananana – Batman!

I’d snagged the window seat on a flight to Oakland. The plane was full, except for the middle seat in my row. The last passenger to board wove her way from seatback to seatback, and the fit, dark-haired guy on the aisle stood to let her in. A flight attendant took her carryon to the back, and she shoved her purse under the seat in front of her. “The kids are with the in-laws on another flight,” she smiled, “in case something happens.” She tossed her curly hair out of her face. “I’m with the body.”

Airborne and leveled out, she ordered cocktails, then confided that this was her last flight of the day, she was newly widowed, the in-laws wanted the kids. “Not gonna happen.” When her first drink arrived, the guy on the aisle paid for it. He paid for all of them. “Thank you! Everybody is so nice!” He looked at me, and I silently agreed. She was in our care for the duration.

She was heading home after the military memorial. She noticed my ring, and I showed her how it worked. “I love it!” she said, so I pulled it off and gave it to her, saying, “Maybe it’ll come in handy.”

She exited the plane as she entered, reeling from side to side, smiling, chatty. But this time the Bat ring lit her path. Yeah, I know, just a bauble, a bangle, a steel gew-gaw. But it brought me comfort. I hope it did the same for her.

Hearts Aloft by Shé, 2019
Hearts Aloft by Shé, acrylic on canvas, 2019





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