"As men, we are all equal in the presence of death."
-Publilius Syrus ... Moral Sayings, First Century B.C.

SILENCE


"It should be raining," Peter Parker thought bitterly to himself as the wind blew across his face.

But it wasn't raining.

No, on this day -- the fourth of March -- it was beautiful. Flawless, even… nearly perfect. The sun was beating down on green grass, the skies were the bluest he'd ever seen them, and it couldn't break his heart more.

He wanted the darkness. He wanted the rain. He wanted the world to reflect everything he was feeling on the anniversary of Gwen Stacy's death. It was just better that way.

It made it easier to grieve. He would never admit that. It was something a super hero wasn't allowed to admit -- that maybe sometimes there was no hope in the world. Nothing could make certain things better.

The darkness.

It was safe to grieve in the darkness.

It had been over an hour since he should've been at Avengers Headquarters. He was almost certain someone needed saving, that there was someone out there who needed his great power; his great responsibility.

But today -- today, he didn't care.

If there was one day in the world he was allowed to not wear that mask, to not strap on a web shooter, to not leap into a burning building -- it was today.

He was allowed to curse fate. He was allowed to curse Spider-Man.

Parker finished entertaining the idea of hanging up his tights years ago. The truth was that he loved what he did, he hungered for making a difference. But there was a damnation that came along with it.

Not with just being a superhero, but with being Spider-Man. Always a smile underneath the mask, always a one-liner, always some joke at some villain's expense. Always the one to break the tension.

Sometimes you just needed to brood.

To miss what you've missed.

To be more man than spider.

Parker's sneakers dug through the green blades as he descended the tiny hill in the cemetery, passed Ben's grave -- he'd go another day -- and stopped in front of STACY.

He surveyed Captain Stacy's grave, and threw his weight down into the green sea around Gwen's.

"Hey, kid."

The wind blew across his face again and he tightened his ball cap. He turned it around, remembering how funny Gwen said he looked like that -- "your ears are too… troll-y" -- and turned it forwards again.

He honored the cliché and ran his hand along the five etched letters which made up her last name. The sun caught his wedding ring and the glare rocketed into his eyes as he cleared some of last season from the edge of the stone.

He thought about Mary Jane and how much he loved her -- that would never change, not even now.

But today wasn't about marriages or happy endings -- it was about anything but, and sometimes, Peter thought again, there were no one-liners. There were no jokes.

There were only memories… and the only way to honor those were with silence.