“M” Is For Superhero

All superheroes wear a signature costume and color uniquely theirs and instantly recognizable to the citizens they are charged with protecting.  Superman wears red and blue, Batman wears black and yellow, and The Green Lantern wears, well, green obviously.  But my favorite superhero wears soft pink velour.

During my second year in law-school, my roommate and I lived in a two-story townhouse in the back of the complex. Our complex was quiet and private and located only one mile from my parents’ house.  Our back concrete patio extended into a small yard bordered by a forest, and tall brick walls separated our patio from the neighbors on each side.

When you entered from the front door, you stood in our den and could walk straight ahead into our dining room, and then immediately turn left into our kitchen.  Our dining room had double sliding glass doors that opened onto the patio, covered by a curtain that opened and closed by a pulley on a drapery rod, with a broken off broom-stick wedged in the bottom of the doorsill.  But, the curtain only partially covered the sliding glass doors because the pulley hung up so that a quarter-inch gap of glass peeked out past the edge of the curtain.

Our kitchen also opened onto the back patio by a Dutch split door with a full window in the upper half of the door decorated with diamond patterned lattice strips.  We never hung a curtain over that window.   The resulting effect was that at night, we could not see outside, but we were illuminated inside to anyone who might be outside looking into the kitchen.  And, although the kitchen had a phone jack, we never bought a phone for the downstairs.  Or at least not until while studying in early December for our fall semester finals when my roommate spontaneously declared she was going to Wal-Mart to buy a phone.  She did and that same night we installed the portable phone in the kitchen.  Which turned out to be a fortunate impetuous decision.

The next night I stayed home to study while my roommate went to the library.  Shortly before 7 p.m., and with the winter night’s inky darkness blanketing the world, I ambled downstairs and into the kitchen to make supper.  As I stood at the microwave mindlessly watching the Lean Cuisine rotating around and around, I heard a loud and unmistakable rattling of the sliding glass doors.  It wasn’t wind.  It wasn’t an earthquake.  And, it grew louder and more intense.  Instantly fearful for who was outside and working on being inside with me, I yanked the portable phone off its base.   I stood rigid in the only spot where I couldn’t be seen between the kitchen and dining room…leaning against the broadside of the refrigerator just inside the doorway between the two rooms.

The menacing jiggling continued.  Instinctively I called….Dad.  Dad has guns.  Except that I miscalculated Dad’s availability.  Mom, who was in bed recovering from cervical discectomy surgery with strict instructions to lie flat and still, answered.  Dad was at the university taking his weekly Spanish course.  I blurted out that someone was attempting to break into my townhouse and Mom yelled, “Call 911!” Right. I should have thought of that.

I called 911.  Whoever was outside that door was single-mindedly determined.  As the dispatcher collected the necessary information, I noticed my two Persian cats’ reaction to the impending threat, both of whom were in the dining room facing the glass doors.  Fergie, my mentally disabled orange cat, bowed up in a picture-perfect pose of a Halloween cat….every hair standing on end, with her gums drawn back showing every fang.  Emma, the grouchy fat silver cat, cowered with fear and urinated on herself and the carpet.  As if I didn’t have enough to think about, I found myself oddly diverted mentally cursing the mess I would have to clean up, all while answering the 911 operator’s questions.  The intruder’s efforts continued without ceasing.

In the distance I heard a faintly strange noise.   waaaaannnhhhhh.  It grew louder, longer, and closer.  wwwaannnhhhhhhh.  And, then it was right outside my townhouse! WAAAAAANNNNNHHHHHHHH.  My mother’s car horn!  My mother was speeding through the complex flat-out laying on her horn.  BAM! BAM! BAM!  The iron knocker on my front door slammed into the door three times, and I joyfully told the 911 dispatcher my mother had arrived.  The shaking glass doors stopped precisely and simultaneously with my mother’s horn blaring in the parking lot.  The 911 operator warned me not to open the front door, but I KNEW, KNEW in my heart who it was.

I flung open the front door and my red-headed mother burst in wild-eyed and wild-haired wearing her full-length bubblegum pink velour zip-up house-robe.  My mother, who never even walks to the mailbox without coiffed hair and perfectly applied lipstick, paced around makeup-less in my den, her meadow-green eyes darting around, gesturing excitedly, and threatening all sorts of  unspeakable harm to the unknown criminal.  I no longer feared for my safety, but I feared for the intruder’s safety if Mom got her hands on him.

The police arrived several minutes later, and investigated.  The sliding glass doors were found popped upward and outward from the track, a condition which rendered the broken broomstick ineffective as a safety mechanism.  My mother’s quick thinking prevented the intruder from actually entering the townhouse, and from perpetrating harm upon me.  My mother rescued me.

The police left.  I hugged and kissed Mom, and I began the process of calming Mom, and cleaning up the cat and the carpet.  I think I’ll buy Mom a pink velour robe this Christmas.  Wonder if I can find one with a large “M” embroidered on the front?








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