WHEN GRAVITY HAD SELDOM MERCY
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
TEN YEARS EARLIER
In dreams, you can fly.
For Peter Parker, his entire adult life had been the personification of that dream
Soaring high above the city in his guise as Spider-Man, swinging with almost no cares for the world below.
Almost no cares.
And then the realization dawned on him as he swung past the Empire State Building.
His favourite spot to be with his favourite person.
A person he’d been left waiting back at the Coffee Bean for the better part of two and a half hours.
That’s the price you pay for engaging in a less than pacy pursuit with an aging Adrian Tooms.
Peter threw every bit of energy he hadn’t spent yet in making it back to the Coffee Bean, only to find it had closed up for the night.
Changing back into his civvies in the cold brisk February evening at the back of the alleyway didn’t do much for his dignity, but at least it wasn’t going to shred it.
Peter took his trusty bike and drove back down the road that stretched back to Queens, where he caught sight of his favourite Aunt talking to his favourite person. Mary Jane Watson.
He drove up and hastily got off the bike to meet her as she caught sight of him and tried to put some distance between them. Peter wasn’t about to let her go, not without giving her an apt opportunity to pounce on him.
He loved it when she displayed some temper.
“MJ, I am so sorry” he said
“Save it. Flash took me home. In a car”
“What’s wrong with my bike?” Peter asked
“More to the point, what’s wrong with you Tiger?” MJ asked, pointing at his chest with a sharp finger.
Peter thought on his feet. “I made a promise to someone” he said
“Did you let them down too?”
Peter’s mind raced back to the socialite who’s valuables were stolen by Tooms, and during the scuffle between him and The Vulture, the crook had dropped the valuables down a chimney.
“I kinda did, yeah, I’m not going to start lying”
“Now anyway” MJ said.
“Yeah” Peter remarked.
Mary Jane sighed.
“Look Pete, you and I…I don’t think it’s working out”
“You want to talk about working out? I’ve got this killer gym membership…”
“Not the time for jokes Pete” MJ said, cutting him off.
“The only good timing I have is comic timing”
“See, that’s the hardest thing about this…’cause you make me laugh so much” MJ replied.
“Best medicine that” Peter replied.
“Flash advised me to read you the riot act..but I just can’t do it. I don’t think your mental reality can take stark reality…and I don’t think I could do without your kind of crazy”
“At least here sanity prevails” Peter said, taking MJ’s hand in his and gently kissing the tip of it.
“Something always comes up with you. The important thing is you always try to make up for it…and that’s the kind of promise you can do with keeping…because one day you may want to make an even bigger promise”
Peter glanced up at the night sky
“Look” he said
MJ turned her head and stared upwards, they both fixated their gaze on the sparkling moon above.
“That’s what I promise you. Every time. Every moment I spend with you, night and day, you take me there…one day, I promise, they’ll be no limit to where we can go”
TEN YEARS LATER
In dreams, you can fly.
In life, you land hard
And ten years ago, gravity seldom had mercy.
As Peter hung on for dear life as The Vulture soared through the city, through a crisp February night, Peter’s webbing tagged to his right foot, he thought how far things had come in the past decade, he couldn’t help but think of that night, and what he had promised.
He stared upwards at the moon above and wondered if this would be the last time he’d be taken there.
And then another strand of webbing attached itself to the Vulture’s left foot, and out of nowhere a vicious red-headed vixen was propelled from the nearby rooftops and joined Spidey in flight.
“Hey Tiger, what’s up?” said MJ as she crawled upwards and reached out towards the back of the bag attached to Toom’s back, pulling out the jewellery he had stolen from yet another socialite. She tucked it neatly into a small satchel at her right side.
“Hey, I made a promise I’d hand that back” said Peter.
“Oh let me hand it back Tiger, after all, we share all our promises”
Beneath the mask he wore, Peter’s face beamed with pride.
Behind the mask MJ wore, her eyes sparked with affection and love.
As Spider-Man and his wife Spinneret clung to The Vulture and soared elegantly across the sky, they elected to give the brash bird of prey an additional few minutes of great struggle just to take in the exquisite sight of the moon high above them.
Watching them from afar from a nearby window was their daughter, Annie May, in the midst of getting changed for bed as it was a school night, she was slightly perplexed at why it was taking them so long to apprehend Adrian.
She glanced upwards and spotted the cause.
“Oh great, full moon, that means everyone’s going stir crazy” she said with a groan, the significance of the sight all but lost on her naive adolescent sense of self.
When she came of age, she would come to understand.
To her, the moon was a conventional wonder of the world.
To her parents, it represented a grand promise.
In the past her mother had taken her father there on many an occasion when he felt like gravity had no mercy.
But now that they were together, in sickness, health, power, and responsibility, there was no limit to where they could go.