Sidewalks sizzle after the rain. Everything everywhere glows in a magnificent haze the air so thick deep inhalation an improbability. She sits prompted up on his shoulders, afraid. He keeps promising that she won’t fall that no matter how much she may need to wiggle he will always hold on. Instinctively, she does not believe him.
“I could bump my head and then what would you do?”
“I’d wrap my arms around you and make sure everything was alright.”
“Not if I fell down. If I fell down after I bump my head then I would hurt my back and it would probably break and you wouldn’t be able to make everything alright then. Would you?” She is intent on catching him in his lie. She is intent on making him admit for once for always he is not superman. Insisting, she shouts into the ear she has been holding onto for dear life, “Would you Daddy?!”
“Oh, baby cakes,” he starts to whistle. It is her favorite song. A lullaby he made up just for her. She loves this song. In his rich baritone he begins, “Aseye, Aseye, Asey, Asey, Aseye!”
Before she knows it he is rocking her, back and forward on his shoulders. He is walking and swaying to the made up lullaby. She wants to say something, to remind him that she is still on his shoulders. She wants to say something to remind him that he must not go so fast. He must not make her fall. After all they are going to granma’s house and if she falls before they make it to granma’s house she will be hurt and then she won’t be able to play with her cousins that will make leaving her mother in the cool house with her new baby brother a very bad idea. Aseye does not have bad ideas. Aseye always has the perfect idea. That’s what her mommy told her. That is what she believes.
She pulls at both his ears, wanting him to stop swaying so that she will not fall, and this will be a good day full of laughing for cousins and singing their own silly songs. But Daddy will not stop swaying. He will not stop singing his lullaby. It is making her mad.
“Daddy!” She shouts. He sings louder.
“Daddy!” She screams. He sings louder still.
“DAAAAA-DEEEE!” She has started her own shouting screaming song. He leaps and she is airborne. It feels like it last for more than an hour this suspension in mid air. She is not on his shoulders. She is not in his arms. He is not holding on to her knees. He does not have her hands. She is air borne. She is flying. She is screaming. She is free.
He spins around, singing loudly, “Ah SAY yay…Ah SAY yay…Ah SAY…, Ah SAY… Ah SAY yay!”
Light as a feather she lands in his arms. He cradles her there for a moment, rocking her back and forth back and forth. And even though she is four and one half years old and a big sister now she softens in his embrace. Arms extended out, she is now an airplane granma bound and he her engine. Looking back at him, he is smiling down on her still singing making up new words to go with his lullaby just for her, “I will catch you if you fall; I will hold you tight and keep you safe…Ah SAY…, Ah SAY… Ah SAY yay. Have no fear and fly my dear. Daddy always near…Ah SAY yay…Ah SAY yay…Ah SAY…, Ah SAY… Ah SAY yay!”
Throwing her head back, she raises her arms higher. He lifts her high above his head. In this moment she is Wonder Woman and he is Superman.