22 May 2007
but it's SPIDERMAN
slowly, he approached the group. brimming with confidence, spiderman doll in hand. four little girls, just a couple of years older, stood in a secret place just beneath the yellow slide. surely, spiderman would be enough to get him in with the group, to get his foot in the proverbial door. he held the doll up high for the whole group to see. he held it casually, as if the act were but a mere formality, a secret offering that would surely guarantee his acceptance. instead, his gesture was with blank stares.
the lack of interest was terribly disconcerting to him, I could see that, but he was not so easily detoured. he approached the tallest girl (clearly the leader) and held the doll about two inches from her face. nothing. she looked to me for some sort of explanation, a way out. I smiled. she looked back at ezra with an expression that said yeah I don't know what to do with you and this doll you keep holding up. his back was to me but I could see him losing confidence. he began to gesture wildly, emphatically. but it's spiderman, he seemed to be saying. spiderman. can you not see that? it's spiderman. SPIDERMAN. still, nothing.
officially stumped by this rejection, he finally walked away. his little shoulders slumped in the most defeated way and I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. he continued on with the business of playing, dodging swings and climbing ladders but his heart was not in it. and he was still trying to wrap his brain around the whole thing when the day took a miraculous turn. there, on the opposite edge of the playground, dangling precariously from the rings, was batman. well, a three year-old wearing a batman swimming mask. their eyes met and I swear I heard the swelling of superhero music in the background. ezra took off running and that was that.
never have batman and spiderman been so happy to see each other. never have two superheroes combined forces so effortlessly. I assure you, powers were used for good that day, girls were promptly forgotten. and the delicate balance of the playground dynamic, joyfully, rightfully restored.