Hopefully Heroism

Everyone dreams of being the hero. 

Source: http://goo.gl/0Fznbk

Everyone wants to be the one who, when they or someone they love are put in a difficult circumstance, would stand with their head held high and their stance wide— poised and ready to defend.

I prefer to think that, and sometimes I stubbornly believe that’s how it would all go down.

But realistically: I don’t know. I don’t know if I’d just stand there and watch it all happen in silence, and I don’t know if I’d be the one to run away and avoid, nor do I know if I’d stand my ground and fight.

I laugh in delight. My brother just told a joke. He’s home: our family is complete. All day I’ve subconsciously had a smile on my face, and the ice cream in my hand is certainly not changing that.

My family and I sit in a booth, and I watch as a fatigue clad man enters the McDonald’s. He stops near the door, takes us all in, and sighs. He shoves his multiple bags in the booth next to us, smelling of cigarettes and age. He adjusts the poppy on his black coat, then his hat, takes a seat in his booth, then stands back up.

“No poppies for the new Canadians?” He says with a questioning look. It takes a while for this to register; I furrow my brows, purse my lips. I look at my family’s expressions: confusion, shock, and they all look away. I look at him.

“I said, no poppies for the new Canadians?” His volume increases, and I try my best to ignore him. He doesn’t know us. He doesn’t know we spent our morning at the Memorial Drive Field of Crosses. He doesn’t know us.

“And they want to invite even more of you to Canada.” At this point, I desperately wanted to stand up, to yell, to leave, to do anything but endure this insensitivity in silence. Still distressed, the man slides into his booth, grumbling under his breath and fidgeting with his poppy.

With rage, I gape at my parents: at my mom shaking her head, at my dad staring back at me.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” I ask.

“No. Ignore him. He’s drunk.”

“He doesn’t know what he’s saying.”

I nod, but in my head I’m astonished. I understand that perhaps he feels strongly about Remembrance Day and thought we didn’t, but simply putting a poppy on your coat doesn’t portray you care. It is an icon, not an opinion.

My parents tell me it was right in this situation to stay silent, in order to not make a mess. Internally though, I was bursting with fury at his ignorance. I wanted to stand up, be the hero— save the day by calling out his cluelessness and watching him shrink with guilt.

But that’s not how it always works.

On the drive back home, I remained mute as my parents fed us with entertaining stories of our childhood to, obviously, get the situation out of our heads. They played the protective part they were supposed to, like they always do. They tell us it’s okay: to not overthink because bad stuff happens. I believe it’s important to set your own limits and determine the extent to which you’d stand up: before staying silent or running away would prove ideal.

Still, I wish to one day be able to stand up, be the hero, save the day.

Because no wants wants to be a tragedy; everyone wants to be a hero.

Source: https://goo.gl/fXNtjO
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2 thoughts on “Hopefully Heroism

  1. Dearest Ayisha,

    I think this was an extremely relevant and important topic to post about. Though we’d like to think that in this society, there is a common theme of acceptance, this isn’t always the case.

    What really drew me to your piece was your use of simple sentences. “He doesn’t know us.” “I looked at him.” Usually, I’m not a fan of people using these throughout their writing, but I think it expressed both a loss of words and the truth, in all its simplicity.

    Overall, I really enjoyed it because the topic of heroism has come up many times in class, and none of us really know how to respond to it. Like you said, everybody wants to be a hero, but circumstances and reality shift this perception. This really gave first hand experience on the matter and I thank you for sharing it with the class.

    As always, I’m looking forward to your next post.



  2. Dear Ayisha,

    There is a purity in your voice and in this piece that deeply resonated with me, my heart is aching after reading this piece; perhaps it is because I too have always dreamt of being a hero and I too have stayed quiet.

    They say that people, like that man, aren’t purposefully ignorant, they are just misinformed. And I believe it is our responsibility to correct them, but sometimes it just isn’t “realistic” to do so…. Sometimes our silence is more appropriate. Maybe it comes down to really choosing our battles, for if you spoke do you think that man would’ve really listened?

    I really loved how you told this story, with simplicity and beauty. You were extremely honest and this is what I value it authors and in human-beings. It is indefinitely refreshing to see this and I thank you for doing so.

    I loved your closing lines: “Still, I wish to one day be able to stand up, be the hero, save the day. Because no one wants to be a tragedy; everyone wants to be a hero.” I found your word choice of tragedy to be quite intriguing, undoubtedly profound, and thought-provoking.
    *Quick note revise your last line it says: “Because no wants wants to be a tragedy” it is just a quick typo you may have missed.

    If I were to offer any constructive feedback, it would be to create a flow for your transition in between thought & story-telling. This is specifically for the shift between paragraph 3 & 4- when you begin to tell the story.

    Overall- your piece gave my goosebumps. The truth, the love, the conviction, the passion, the bravery to tell such an experience is to be saluted. I salute you for sharing and creating something so beautiful, something so honest. You really spoke to reality- a reality no one wants to acknowledge. “A reality in a reality” Bravo!

    May we all one day have the courage to be a hero.


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