The only superhero

This evening… I was walking through the subway, the tunnel, ready to catch a train home. I was holding my large photo paper and trying to carry my drink bottle, holding two newspapers that threatened to fly down the street any minute; I was fumbling in my pocket while struggling to balance the load in my hands, attempting to find my train ticket.

A busker was peering at a notebook as I scurried towards him. His guitar strap was tightened so that he looked somewhat uncomfortable, but just as he disappeared from my peripheral vision as I walked right past him, he played a song that was so, so familiar to my ears.

“I’m so happy, ’cause today I found my friends… they’re in my head…”

I wanted to run back. I wanted to go and drop a few coins by him, but I had none. I’d emptied my coin purse completely. Tomorrow is pay day and for nearly a whole week I’ve been looking forward to it, because I tossed a lot of my money in the bank and had to spend a great deal on photo paper and film. I wanted to go back and listen, ask the man to play another of Nirvana’s – maybe play the eerie Something in the Way, or hear him imitate Cobain’s deep vocals on Polly, or replicate their version of Dumb at their unplugged show in New York that took place in late 1993. But my feet kept making me walk, and the man’s voice eventually echoed away into the jarring blur of sounds of busy people making their way home after a long day at work.

Somewhere, something dared to tell me that that man wasn’t ever going to be good as Cobain, but what mattered was that he took something so magnificent and paid tribute to it. That, in all, was what inspired me. He wasn’t the greatest singer and his guitar was tuned unusually high, and he wasn’t really showing much soul in what he did. But that was him, paying tribute to one of the most famous singer/songwriters of all time.

And just like that, I forgot how shit I had been feeling today. I forgot that I had been having stomach pains and that I had been crying and felt so upset about my digestive system being horrid. I had been feeling really ill and just felt like my attempts to lower my cholesterol were not doing well for my colon in turn. I guess I felt like my problems were coming back somehow. It’s been making me upset lately, I don’t feel like doing anything and I just can’t concentrate on a lot of things.

I think, you know – that we all have a hero. Some of us admire so greatly the musicians who were alive and dead before our time. Some of us look at glamourous pin-up beauties or hotties. Some of us dream of a prince charming who doesn’t exist in real life. Some of us look up to environmentalists, politicians, or people who do such a great job but aren’t expected to be anyone’s hero. Some of us love our older brothers or older sisters, or our grandfathers who might have died in war.

I think that we all have someone who we greatly admire who we never knew, never will know – just a public figure. Someone who inspires us with what they did, or what they do. And somewhere we’ll always have someone we know, someone who is close to us, related, or a friend, or a partner… who we see every day or see more often than not… who just inspire us.

Well, it doesn’t really matter who.

It also doesn’t matter how they inspire you. Inspiration doesn’t mean that they do something talented and it makes you do the same. It can also mean that what they do keeps you going. Or they, just in pure existence, are the reason you keep going on.

If it weren’t for James, I think… I honestly think that somewhere along the line I would have felt all the more miserable. I often say, that he helped pull me out of that emotional pit I was in, but I was the one who grabbed his hand. If I hadn’t mustered all the strength, then I’d still be there. Sometimes I think that we live up to those people who inspire us. Maybe they don’t really keep us going. We choose to live up to them.

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