By Rona V. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: April 2008
Summary: For altClark, one day is pretty much like another. Unlike the rest of the world, Mondays hold no special significance for him.... Or do they?
This story deals with the AltClark introduced in the series.
Asterisks are for emphasis.
Many thanks to my GE Janet Owens for helping me prepare this story for the archive.
I believe this is going to be one of those days that I will never forget.
It is a Monday. Mondays are supposed to be dreaded days, and I would dread them just as much as the next person if I could actually muster up enough energy to care. I can't though; Mondays no longer mean anything more to me than any other day of the week. I'm a reporter, after all. Life is not Monday-through-Friday nine-to-five. The big story could break at two o'clock in the morning on a Sunday just as well as it could at three in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I'm sure it has before.
So, Mondays bring no unusual dread to me. They are just another day of the week. I might find myself in the thick of the news at any unconventional hour with no discrimination against all the other days of the week. If I wasn't already in the news; if I wasn't already *creating* the news. After all, I'm not just a reporter. I'm Superman too. My helping hand is demanded at all hours of the day and night. How can I dread an inevitable Monday when the passing of the sun and moon seem to be completely pointless to me? The only distinction between day and night in my world is that more crimes seem to happen at night.
I don't mean to sound so jaded. I just find that time has become one misshapen blur to me. It has been eight years since a spirited brunette came into my life and turned it completely upside down. Eight years since the world has known I'm not really human. For eight years, I haven't had a drop of privacy. It has been eight long years since I've felt any sort of connection to another person.
While I'm measuring time, I'll admit it. It has been twenty years since I have been to Smallville. When I turned eighteen, I bailed on the town and all of my memories. I took Lana with me and ran all the way to Metropolis. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have done that. Maybe I wouldn't be where I am today if I had stayed in the quiet sanctuary Smallville offered to me. But if I hadn't, I would not have been able to do as much good in the world as I have. I may be bitter and lonely, but I realize that I've helped a lot of people. I can honestly say I would not trade a single life I've saved for a life of selfish peace. I know this is why I'm here; I know this is my purpose. I was sent to Earth to help people, and there are days that I love it.
In all the time I have been absent from Smallville though, I have realized that someday I would need to go back. That I can't let Wayne manage my parents' farm for me forever. That there are people I love in that town. People who miss me, people who care about me. I may not have been extraordinarily close to any of them, but there are friendships I've neglected which I should not have. Rachel Harris, for example. She was a good friend during my childhood, and she's continued to check up on me over the years. She hasn't let my celebrity faze her. I'm still just good old Clark, and she's just sweet, simple Rachel. I'm a fool for tossing that friendship aside. People like her keep me in touch with life. I need that.
Today, however, this twenty-year avoidance was addressed and remedied. On Friday, Rachel phoned me to let me know Wayne had passed away. Natural causes, they say, which is a really nice way of saying all of that country cooking finally caught up with his arteries.
"Clark," she says through the broken connection of rural cellular towers. "We miss you here. We'd love to have you at the funeral. I know Wayne was real important to your family. Shoot, I dare say you thought of him as a second father after your folks... you know..." She pauses, and I know she's trying to be delicate. Then, "Please come. The funeral is on Monday at four. We miss you, really."
I can't say no to her. I'm going to the funeral, and she knows it. She's right, after all; Wayne was fundamentally important to me after my parents died. What she doesn't say is that I'm not just needed at the funeral. They need me back in Smallville because it is time for me to get my affairs in order. I have to start assuming the burden of responsibility of my parents' farm.
So, I go. I make sure to leave my cape back home in an attempt to ease any potential media circus. Today, I am Clark Kent, not Superman, and I want to be sure there is no doubt about it in case the media still happens to have any distinction between the two.
It's a Monday in Smallville, and contrary to popular myth, there isn't a rain cloud to be seen for miles. The funeral itself was bright and sunny, with a cool breeze blowing across the prairie. That was two hours ago, and I'm now standing in the drive of my childhood homestead, staring at the house that brought me so much laughter and joy before all of the tears and pain.
The house looks the same, which is confusing. It shouldn't look the same after years of neglect. It should be old and weathered, and at least some part of it should be on the brink of falling apart. But it isn't. There's a fresh coat of paint on the house and barn. Beautiful flowers are blossoming around the porch. A truck sits in the drive. It is an older model, but it is shining beautifully from a recent wax job. I can tell it has been well maintained.
It only takes me seconds to realize this place is inhabited. Maybe I should have paid more attention to what Wayne has told me over the years. At least this might make selling it easier if the renter is willing to make a more permanent commitment.
I don't even think about what might come next. Seeing this place has brought back too many memories for me to deal with after the burial of my mentor. I'm ready to seal the deal and get rid of my childhood home if it means I can leave Smallville behind me forever. I'm marching up the walkway to introduce myself and make a proposal without even knowing what I'm really going to say, when the front door flies open and I'm face to face with an old hunting rifle. I guess my loitering startled whoever was home. After all, it's Smallville, and nobody loiters here. These farmers have guns, few of them miss unintentionally, and everybody knows it.
Having a gun in my face is nothing new to me. It's something I see every day, and even if I didn't, I know my invulnerability protects me. However, I can tell from the barrel of the gun that it belonged to my father, and I'm momentarily offended that there is somebody else wielding it at me.
If this woman is trying to shake me up, she has succeeded. Not because there's a gun in my face, or even because it is my father's gun. No, what has shaken me is the actual woman who is wielding the gun at me.
She is easily the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. She's dressed modestly and comfortably, in faded well-worn jeans and a red tank-top, both of which cling to her delicate curves. A warm-looking flannel is tied about her waist. Her dark hair is long, with loose waves hanging freely down the middle of her back. Coffee-colored eyes threaten me from behind long, thick lashes. She looks sheepish, and I realize she's lowered the gun while I'm staring slack-jawed at one of the wonders of the world.
"I'm so sorry!" She exclaims, as she steps back a little. "I thought the noise I heard was those blasted Thompson kids again. I don't really shoot them, I just try to scare them off. They're always stealing or vandalizing or... never mind. You must be Mr. Kent. I was told you may stop by today. Please, come in."
She's different in some way. Maybe because she's older. A little more tired around the eyes. It could be the hair. Something about her isn't quite the same. But I would recognize her anywhere.
I *am* a fool for having stayed away from Smallville all these years. All these years when I thought I was keeping myself safe, maybe the one thing that could heal me has been here. I should have listened more to Wayne, I berate myself again.
"Lois?" I ask, but I don't need confirmation.
She nods, and repeats her request for me to join her inside. She's babbling something about buying the farm, but I'm not listening. This isn't the woman who turned my life upside down. This is *my* Lois. I can feel it. I don't know how this is even possible that she's here. In Smallville. On my farm. I'm such a fool.
No, I'm not going to forget today. This Monday just changed my life.