My husband had never been a family man; he was always focused and devoted to his work. For him, a successful business meant power and that family was only a minor obligation. There were many times where I felt that I was a burden to my husband. I even began to wonder why we got married in the first place. I have often wondered how such a workaholic could have ever been romantic.
However, it is not my husband, but rather my son, whom I want to talk about now. The anniversary of my son's death was yesterday. It is probably in vain to talk about the last days of his life, because people already know that part of the story. He was part of an incredible story, but unfortunately he was on the wrong side.
My son learned at an early age how to become a man like his father, one who was devoted to his work and driven by success. His father did not spend much of his time with his family, but on those occasions that he did, he spent most of the time talking about his successes and the growing influence of his business. It was easy to tell that my son was captivated by his father's success. To him, his father was an angel who had descended from heaven to tell him stories of miracles and wonders.
Unlike his father's business obsession, my son developed an interest in machines. He dissembled and re-assembled all sorts of machines from a very young age and was able to combine different objects to come up with his own primitive inventions. Before he went to elementary school, he invented an automated knife that would spread butter on his bread and a machine that would bring him the remote control when triggered by pulling down on a string. Often, I found myself worrying about my son's future education and wondering what this kid could possibly learn at school.
Unfortunately, within the first week of school, my worries about his education came true when my son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and quickly became an outcast at school due to his hyperactivity. My divorce from his father during the same year only made things worse. I didn't know what to do. Although it was not the best solution, I still thought it was best for my son to continue to study at a normal, public school.
In his second year, a fan club was formed to celebrate the superheroes that made this planet a better place to live. Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone, Gazerbeam, Superman, etc., were all invitees of this club during their biweekly activities. My son, having grown up with the example of his successful father, soon developed an interest in this club. There, my son had found an excellent replacement for his father, whom he deeply missed since our divorce.
One day he returned from the club's activities and was not the same person that usually returned from school. I hardly recognized him. The angry-looking, hyperactive outcast was gone, and in his place was a child who was destined to follow his dreams. During dinner, I asked how his day had been. He talked about a man that I "better marry," because he wanted him as his father. Guess who it was: Mr. Incredible.
"I asked and he said he was single and he loved children," my son insisted.
"But I've never met him!" I replied, smiling.
"I'm sure you'll love him," he said.
I was so happy that, after two years of misery and distress, we could have a dinner like mother and son.
The dream went on for a few months, until one night when he came home from a friend's house, looking very distraught. I thought perhaps he had a fight with his friend, but it wasn't that. He had tried to tag along with Mr. Incredible as his sidekick but had been kicked out of his car, because Mr. Incredible found him too young and didn't want a sidekick. After all, Mr. Incredible always worked alone. Eventually, my son was able to accept the situation and he realized that what Mr. Incredible said was true, that he actually was too young. However, his awe of Mr. Incredible never faded. He always sought ways to get Mr. Incredible to accept and appreciate him.
By the time my son was in middle school, companies began to purchase his inventions. He was already well on his way to becoming as successful as his father had been. I frequently asked myself what this boy would accomplish in the future. He already had achieved what most people never would in an entire lifetime. Flying boots were his latest invention. He thought this would catch Mr. Incredible's attention because flying would greatly improve Mr. Incredible's ability to fight crime.
One night, he was brought home by the police. I literally freaked out. I thought he had done something horrible with one of his crazy inventions. Apparently, he had tried to help Mr. Incredible at the scene of a robbery, but everything had gone wrong and Mr. Incredible rejected him as a sidekick once more. Being an adolescent undergoing puberty he had difficulty in facing this latest rejection from his hero. He not only craved acceptance and appreciation but he needed them. From that day on, all the Mr. Incredible posters, stickers, and T-shirts were gone from our house. Instead, my son started putting up posters of villains and he started to idolize them.
I couldn't tell anyone, but I was terrified when I found a paper in his room that said, "Revenge of the Bad Guys." I hoped this was a sort of adolescent fury that would go away in time. And it did - at least I thought it did.
After he completed his university degree, my son started a company that focused on the research and development of defense systems. Because of his genius, he easily achieved immediate success and purchased two islands in the Pacific: one as his home to live with his fiancée and the other as his base of operations. I was a happy mother because after so many years of hard work and worries, I thought my son had finally overcome his difficulties and was moving on with his life.
My dream did not last long. After the government grounded all the superhero activities due to public unrest towards the superheroes, my son started popularizing his inventions that mimicked the abilities of these superheroes: flying boots, a machine that made any shape by freezing the humidity in the air, a never-ending rope that never broke, etc. I never thought that what he was doing was simply a disguise to hide his true goal: discovering Mr. Incredible's secret identity and getting revenge for himself and for all those whose parents or spouses were hurt or killed by the superheroes. I found out about this from one of his journals that was later given to the police by his fiancée.
You know the rest of the story. My son was struck by a car that Mr. Incredible threw at him and was finally killed by the very jet engine he had invented and built. Mr. Incredible had once been my son's hero and was now his murderer. What can I say? Congratulations, Mr. Incredible on another job well-done! I hope you can enjoy dinner with your family tonight as I'm writing these lines in sorrow ...
Remembering the Super Victim: A Letter from a Villain's Mom to a Superhero
- By Sermed Ogretim
- Category: Issue 89 (September - October 2012)
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