I am a fool.
That is what I think to myself when I am alone. It is the thought from the darkest reaches of my mind that keeps finding its way back to the forefront of my thoughts.
It is in this train of thought that I find my one weakness. Kryptonite? No. That poisonous little bitter reminder of my destroyed homeworld? I have been brought to my knees and seen too much of my blood flow from fresh wounds brought upon by that little geological collection of elements, but the cure for that? Sunlight...the solar radiation that gives me my greatest gifts and returns me to that place in the sky that so many people have bestowed on me. Friends, allies, co-workers, strangers, they all place me on this pedestal. Man of Tomorrow? As far as I'm concerned 'Tomorrow' passed a long time ago.
I do not place myself there, up on high, above others. That is not the way I was raised and that is not who I am. Jor-El and Lara, Martha and Jonathan, they all loved me and they all knew that I was destined for greater things. "Such promise" they kept saying, "Such power". If they only knew...If they could only see me in this state that I am in now.
I am not afraid of dying. I did that once, it didn't take. I think back to my battle with that monster and all I can remember thinking in that last moment before I temporarily left this plane of existence is "Will I ever see her again?"
Her. Diana. Wonder Woman. My weakness.
My best friend. God, it feels so tacky when I say it like that, the farm boy in love with the mythical princess, but that is simply how it is. We do not control with whom we fall in love, but we can control how we go about it and how we attempt to express those feelings, and in that sense I have completely failed.
I wish I could remember when it was that I fell in love with her. God it has been so many years since our first meeting, the first time I laid eyes on her, the first time I heard her speak...Why do I remember her voice more than anything else? Her melodious voice filled my ears with such beautiful sounds, the ability to convey so much love for the world and the steel to fight for it in the same tone, it ironically has left me speechless next to her on many occasions. Amongst all the sounds of the world that I am constantly bombarded with, when she speaks it is as if the entire world is silent and all I can hear is her.
She is the warrior and she is the diplomat. How do those two go together you might ask? She once joked with me during a particularly trying encounter with several of our mutual villains that engaging in battle was simply "Diplomacy at the end of a sword".
Summing up Diana is impossible, I could have a thousand lifetimes and it still would not be enough. She is the strongest person I have ever known, blessed by the gods and goddesses of her homeland, and trained in the ancient ways of the Amazons to be one of the greatest warriors the world has seen or will ever see. It sounds cliché, but I consider myself blessed just to have lived in a time where she was alive. That is how I bring solace to my tortured thoughts, the knowledge that if nothing ever comes of my feelings for her, that at least I got to know her, to be there with her, to exist next to her.
Her physical beauty is unmatched, sculpted from clay by the hands of her mother and life breathed into her by the gods, she stands like a beautiful pillar at all times. Raven-coloured flowing hair that smells of orchids and fire, piercing sapphire eyes that somehow manage to convey both the love that I know she carries deep in her heart, and the fierceness that comes from her upbringing. What do you call it? The ability to look into her eyes and to know that she will do everything she can, including sacrifice herself, to protect the innocent and to punish those who would threaten or hurt others. It is that aura that emanates from her that is the source of her strength. There are other allies and enemies who are stronger than her physically, but none can match her resolve, it is her who will never give up, she who will never stop fighting. A living and unshakeable force of energy that just happens to be named Diana.
I would do anything for her. I spent one thousand years with her in Asgard just because she asked me to and never once gave into a moment of love with her. Why you ask? How could I tell you all of these things and have you still believe that I love Diana with all my being? It is for that reason that I love her that I never gave in, we were at war together, the two of us against the legions of the enemy-at-hand. I could not bear to love her only to lose her the next day. And so I held off, for one thousand years we fought together, and simply had to make due with glances and the occasional heart-to-heart...I am a fool.
I still remember that day that we returned back to our own time from Asgard. The battle won and for the first time in one thousand years I did not begin the day locked in combat with Diana by my side. I went back to work and to my life as if nothing had happened. That morning I took a moment for myself, I left Earth's atmosphere and landed in a crater on the dark side of the moon, fell to my knees and wept. I had been holding it in for too long. Sound surprising? Superman does not cry. I am not Superman. That is simply a moniker assigned to me by a opportunistic female newspaper reporter. Never in my life have I ever felt super. I am a man, as fallible as the next, but I have to keep that hidden, I have to hold that inside, and let no one see it. This is my burden, this is my curse, this is what I must live with...to become the man that my parents (both of them) always wanted me to be. Nobody ever asked what I wanted, what I felt I deserved. I was not raised to be selfish, I know I am a good man, or at least that I try to do what is right. Right now I wish I could be selfish, that I could tell her that I want her, that I could tell her how long I have been waiting to feel her against me. Pathetic.
The buzzing in my ear, it's the Justice League comlink. Trouble is calling as always. The world never stops just because you are sad. "Superman here, what's the situation?" There's a pause and then even over the static I still can hear her breathing, I know it is her before she speaks. "Kal, we're in trouble and if you're not too busy, we could use a hand over here". Unseen to her I can't help but smile, I can hear from her voice that she is in the middle of an intense battle, and yet she still managed to take a jab at me. I am never too busy for her, I am her best friend, and at least she knows that much. "Never too busy to help. It's why I'm here" I respond, adding my qualifier at the end. "See you when you get here then" she responds briefly and then there's a click and she's gone...static fills my ear again. "See you when you get here?" I say to myself. I chuckle, out loud this time. If anybody else had heard the tone of our conversation, they would have thought we were going out for coffee, not dealing with a life-threatening situation. I immediately begin rising from the ground, my cape spreading out behind me, and in another moment the sound of the sonic boom fills my ears as I cut through the sky towards her.
I am Clark Kent, I am Kal-El of Krypton, I am the Man of Steel. I am all of these things...and I am none of them.
I am a man in love and I have never felt so lost.