Interviewer: Superman or Batman?
Me: How do you mean?
Interviewer: As a love interest. You know…you’re favorite hero…
Me: Oh, I see. (Sips from an over-sized coffee cup.) Hm…neither.
Interviewer: Really? You don’t fancy either? That’s a shock. Most women would love to be Lois for a day.
Me: (Smirks slightly.) I’m not most women. Besides…Isn’t she always on someone’s hit list because of her boyfriend?
Interviewer: (Shifts slightly in his cushioned no-name coffee-shop chair.) True. (Looks down at his notepad then taps a few keystrokes before returning eye contact.) So…I’m still curious, why wouldn’t you pick either of them?
Me: (Rolls eyes.) They’re both terrible boring.
Interviewer: How so? (Stops typing and presses his palm against his face.)
Me: Well. (Turns head to watch a couple walk past the store window. Neither is speaking to the other. Both are frantically thumb-typing onto dark rectangular boxes gripped between steady palms.) Superman has his righteousness, and Batman has his vengeance.
Me: And that’s it. There’s nothing else going on in their lives. Their paths are already set. Neither of them really needs a woman by his side.
Interviewer: (Leans slightly to the left to catch my attention once more.) I don’t get it. Please explain a little more of your theory.
Me: A hero is exactly that. (Takes another huge gulp of cream-only caramel-mocha coffee.) There is no room for change. He or she has a job that requires their complete and utter focus all day, every day. Self-discovery is only for the purpose of becoming a better hero, not a better person. Love becomes an inconvenience that they must bear in order to appear normal to the masses.
Interviewer: (Raises both eyebrows slightly.) Am I speaking with the right person? (A scoff hovers in his voice.) Is this the same Lenise Lee who once thrived on drafting dime-store-rated romance novellas? Who once wrote that she is (uses crooked-fingers to mimic quoting.) ‘in love with being in love’?
Me: (Unblinking.) One and the same.
Interviewer: So what has changed?
Me: Everything. (Glances at the table across from us. The couple from outside are now seated there, and their thumbs are still hammering away. Five minutes have passed and neither has uttered anything more than an order to the waitress.)
Interviewer: (Touches the outside of my hands and presses them firmly against the cup I am holding.) Don’t leave me hanging. (His voice does a great impression of sounding sincere.) Tell me what happened to cause this huge one-eighty.
Me: (My gut reaction is to jerk away, but I hold steady. I’ve seen this look on men’s faces before. It’s my eyes. Dark and mysterious. Men seem to be drawn in like moths to a flame, which is why I never hold eye contact for too long. This time I let my guard down and here is the result. I smile a friendly, non-committal grin then casually move my hands away and fold them under my chin.) Well, if you really want to know…I went in search of a knight in shining armor and all I ever found were harlequins.
Interviewer: (He blinks his eyes and then shifts back in his chair. The spell is broken. It’s as clear as a blue sky that he’s never heard of that word before, and I do nothing to help explain the term.) Hm. Okay. (Soon, he’s typing again, and I know that he’s trying to Google that term. The conversation comes to an abrupt end, and I go back to people watching.)