Traci Harding’s mom was waiting for her when the bus pulled up at the stop a block from Traci’s stop. She saw her as the bus pulled up and she could feel heat creep up to her face as she blushed. She got off the bus as quick as she could and started walking toward the house. Besides being the mother to a would-be superhero, Nancy Harding was a former track star and had longer legs than Traci. Besides that, Traci was not able to use her powers in public and her mother knew it. There was no way that Traci was outrunning her mother without flying but that was not the intent. The point was to make the conversation private.
“Traci stop. I need to talk to you.” Her mom said, laying a hand on Traci’s shoulder gently. It would take an impact from a car to hurt Traci but the gentleness was always appreciated.
“I know, mom. I just thought the conversation should be private. Right?” Traci asked. She turned to face her mother in their front yard in the midst of all of her mother’s beautiful flowers. Her mother had maintained this house for all of the years since Traci’s father had disappeared. Traci had a lot of respect for her mother but it made her the only parent and a symbol of authority. It could be hard sometimes but in that moment, Traci took a deep breath and smelled the flowers.
“Ok, good point,” Her mother said. “However, when my daughter rescues a malfunctioning plane midair and does not call, I kind of lose my head.” Her mother gave her a hard look but was trying to take slow deep breaths herself.
“I was going to call but I had to get to homeroom . Then the school has a no cell phone policy,” Traci said.
They walked inside and Traci set her backpack down. It had roller wheels on it as was the fashion at school. Traci did not need them with her super strength but they were so popular and they helped Traci stay undercover. She was proud of the backpack. It was cute and she had paid for it with chore money which made it just about the only thing so far that was only hers. It was completely normal girl stuff and Traci embraced that.
“We’re supposed to debrief, Traci. I was worried about you especially when you didn’t call,” Nancy said, a look of concern in her eyes.
“Sorry, Mom. There was a lot of stuff going on. I didn’t mean to make you worry,” Traci said.
“We have rules for a reason. We need to keep the two of us safe both physically and mentally. We’re a team, ok?” Mom asked.
“I remember, mom,” Traci said. “There wasn’t a lot of time but I’ll make time for the next one. I don’t want you to have to worry about me.”
“Besides, my earring fell under the fridge this morning. If you hadn’t run off I would have had you lift it so I could get it back. I had to change earrings and I was nearly late to work.” Mom said with a playful smirk.
“Oh Mom, I can’t always move furniture for you when the world needs saving,” Traci said with a laugh.
“You know, I have said it before and I will say it again but you do not need to be the one saving the day.” Mom said. She smiled easily, making sure that Traci knew that there was no pressure.
Traci wondered how her mother had reacted to her father being a superhero. He had been very public and had not only prevented disasters but had also fought a lot of high-profile battles against criminals. He had very few colleagues to save the day alongside so all of the danger was on him. Her mother was a tough woman but she still would have been sitting at home and watching Comet Man’s exploits on the news. Did she worry this much when it was him and not her daughter? What was it like for his costume to run through the washing machine while the two of them relaxed on the couch?
“Mom, there was nobody around for miles. If I hadn’t caught that plane, I shudder to think what would have happened to all those people. Not to mention all the people they might have hit on the ground. If I can be there, I’m going to be there,” Traci said.
“I know. Just like your father. Just make sure that if you’re going to be there, you’re also going to be there after. I can’t lose anyone else, Traci,” Mom said.
“I know, Mom. I can’t promise anything but I’ll always do my best to come back to you.”