When you live in New York long enough, you get to run into just about everybody.
I remember in the mid 80’s, I was on the F Train heading uptown to meet some friends, and this guy got on at West 4th Street. Thought nothing of it… except two girls sitting next to me were going ga-ga over him. Sure he was a good-looking guy and really tall, but he was dressed like a regular guy with jeans, a baseball jacket and a backpack.
Like a typical New Yorker, he put one foot on the door, grabbed the strap and watched the lights out the door window.
One of the girls whispered to the other in a half-giggle “Superman”, and I gave him a double take.
Holy shit! It really WAS Christopher Reeve.
He smiled at the girls (as he heard it too) and gave me a nod “hello” as I’m staring at him with my head askew like a confused puppy.
And after what I’m sure was an uncomfortable eternity for him waiting for his stop, he got off at 34th Street.
A memory that played over and over in my head as I heard the sad news of his passing today. When I was picked up from work today, my son had the saddest look on his face and said “Daddy, did you hear Superman died today?”
Then I told him the story about meeting him on the train.
All day long I couldn’t put a word on how I felt today.
I finally figured it out an hour or so ago:
I admit I haven’t given Christopher Reeve a lot of thought over the years. But I do know that if it were me who broke his neck nine years ago and were condemned to live trapped in a body that didn’t work…
… I would have wished I had died right there on the spot.
He accomplished a lot in the last few years, fighting for causes, directing, writing a book; But I bet he would have given anything to just run free in a meadow with his arms wide open. Just once. Probably dreamed about it all the time. You can’t put a price tag on that.
Rest in peace, Chris.
P.S. A full-sized wallpaper version of “Goodbye Superman” is available in my Gallery over at Animotions