Life after Lois Lane
"We'll have a wonderful life together. But after we have a wonderful life together... you'll just... have another one" Lois Lane, Lois & Clark, Season 4, episode 5 "Brutal Youth"
I have imagined how I would feel when Lois died. I have lost enough people to know that life would go on even
if I felt
like it was the end. I know enough about people to realise that how we actually end up feeling when the thing we have been fearing the most happens, isn't usually as bad as we imagined it would be. We think we won't cope. And at first I couldn't. Now I am not sure I feel anything. Well that isn't strictly true. I feel guilt, relief, and guilt again. But more than anything I miss her. But I have been missing her for the past thirty years, maybe longer.
I miss the Lois who was my equal. Who could take on any man twice her size with her strength, sheer determination,
words. I miss how she looked. Lois was turning heads well into her fifties but after her sixtieth birthday she told me she couldn't sleep with me anymore. She said that the way she looked, it was wrong some how. She didn't say it but I knew it was because when she looked at me she saw our son, who by then, and now, looks like my brother. She survived the end of the world, the birth of a new one, and she died standing up. Gardening, of all things. She died just outside the window I am staring out of right now. We had been waiting for it for twenty years but it still shocked us. I couldn't speak. Nobody knew what to do. They have always looked to me for guidance. Now I think they are starting to learn those constants in our lives are not constant. Lois was not just my wife, a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, she was the mother of a new world. Everyone will feel her loss and I don't want them to, that loss is mine.
The Kansas sunset is still the same as it was eighty years ago when I used to watch it with Lana. She died twenty years ago, only Jimmy is left now, the only human who remembers how Lois was when we were young. Not that he remembers much these days.
"The vultures are circling". I turned around from the loft window, a little startled to hear the voice of my daughter Sky. She held up a plate of chocolate muffins wrapped in a clear Kryptonian material, not dissimilar from plastic. "Zara baked these for you and that Amazonian witch has been asking after you, Mum's only been dead a week and they are already lining up to take her place".
"Sky, Diana is not a witch". "She uses magic doesn't she?" I looked at Sky and she was quiet - the look never fails. "Have you seen my backpack?" she asked dumping the muffins on my coffee table. "You gave it to Seph for his trip to Mars". "Oh yeah, crap". She sounds like Lois when she says that word. "You can borrow mine," I said. "What do you need it for?" "You know Kara and J'onn said they found a colony of Kryptonians living in the Ta-lek sector? I'm going to go there". "Really?" I was surprised. I knew she had been thinking about it. The colony is apparently 50,000 light years away and it takes 2 years to get there in Kryptonian ships. "I know Mom only died a week ago and some people might think it's insensitive but Mom always said that life is for living, she wouldn't want me sitting around crying and Shona, she doesn't need me anymore, she has her own baby now". "You're right your mother wouldn't want any of you putting your lives on hold for her". "But you still feel sad about me leaving, I can feel it". "Well I'll miss you. Seph is on another planet and Alex is in orbit at the space station immersed in his research". "You still have Shona, she'll do anything for her Pops and well, you could come with us". "Things are too fragile here," I said, answering her question almost too quickly. "The Kryptonians are still settling in and there is still so much rebuilding to be done". "One day they'll have to get along without you, you know," Sky said and I took my backpack out of the corner and handed it to her. "Thank you". I could hear two people coming up the stairs of the loft - it was Kara and J'onn. "Kara," I said and I briefly smiled. "Are you leaving now?" Sky zipped away and returned and the backpack was full. I don't know what she was going to do with that moth eaten Carebear in the Ta-lek sector. I hugged Kara and then J'onn. I didn't really think about the three of them leaving. I might never see them again but all I could think about was Lois. "The ship is leaving in half an hour," J'onn explained. "You know the funeral was the best Lois could have hoped for Kal, Clark". I thought about the funeral, the private funeral. The one that was broadcast to the world had prominent
figures, the ones who are still alive, talking about their experiences meeting or being interviewed by Lois. They saw a coffin being carried by her children and grandchildren, even though they knew that any of them could have carried that coffin with their pinkie finger - especially since it was empty.
Unknown to the general population Lois had been buried 24 hours after she died and was buried wrapped in a white sheet. She had based her wishes on a Muslim tradition of shrouding the dead in white cloth. Though she wasn't Muslim she respected the tradition and agreed that a wooden coffin was a waste of wood (the coffin the public saw on TV was actually someone else's). I prepared the body myself and sobbed the entire time. It was her frailty that broke my heart. The wrinkles, her small bones. It was hard to imagine that in her forties Lois had been a size 12. We had fun then. She thought she was fat but I loved the extra curves and lines. The softness of her breasts, her thighs, her round ass.
Being married to Lois was like being with many women - young, athletic, curvaceous, pregnant, lined, older. But Lois was cheated of watching my body change over the years - it just didn't. In 70 years I haven't gained or lost a single pound. I grew a beard which Lois didn't like but she understood why I did it. For many years when I was a journalist I had a short back and sides. Now I've grown my hair again and look like I did when I was twenty one.
At the funeral I lowered Lois into the grave myself levitating into the ground. It didn't seem real. I had disconnected from reality. Kryptonians don't understand when I try to explain that sensation. Raised among humans I have human emotions. I never underwent the emotional training Kara went through. What I did during Lois's funeral was very human. I disconnected to cope and save my sanity. We buried Lois where The Daily Planet building used to be before the war. In fact the globe still sits their on the ground with a plaque commemorating the building. Shona our granddaughter who sings just like Lois sang one of Lois's favourite songs `who knows where the time goes'.
"My mother was human," our son Seph said. His sister and younger brother stood either side of him. Diana, Jimmy, Kara and J'onn and their son Sar-El stood behind them. I stood to the right of the grave and opposite me were our 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Diana was the only member of the original Justice League left. Many people had died during the war but Lois had survived. She was seventy six years old then and could have given up but she was in our bunker while my children and I flew as fast as we could around the world trying to stop the bombs. As fast as we are we couldn't stop all the missiles all at once and it wasn't just weapons we had to stop. The debris was filling the atmosphere so Sky, Alex and myself worked to neutralise it with our breath. Seph worked to stop some of the fire fighting down on the ground since his asthma meant though he could blow out a house fire it wasn't a good idea for him to breathe in nuclear debris.
"Being human means I have asthma, I have an extra toe on my left foot but it also means I am immune to Kryptonite, very useful. But what was really important about my mother being human is everything she taught me about being human. About being honest, kind, compassionate and realising all of us have as much to learn in this life whatever planet we are from. She taught my father these things too".
"My mother was the best role model I could have had, that any woman could have but most of all she changed the perception of what a woman can be," Sky added smiling, a tear in her eye. As our children spoke about their mother, my wife, I listened but I didn't listen, staring into the hole in the ground. Kara put a comforting hand on my shoulder bringing me back to the present. "You could always come with us to the Ta-lek sector," she said. "A whole new colony of Kryptonians, we could learn so much". The reason why I couldn't go walked into the room at that moment.
"Sir," James Luthor said, he was out of breath due to nerves rather than lack of fitness. He was British not that Britain really existed in the same way anymore, just as the US wasn't really the same. He looked so much like his grandfather today it made me feel sick. I wanted so much to go back to the past I wished even for Lex to be alive again. "A Japanese colony outside Kyoto are refusing to let the Dam-nor Kryptonians settle with them, they've managed to get hold of some Kryptonite and are refusing to let them stay". I sighed.
"Take Leah and Amit with you and tell them that Superman wishes them to accommodate the new settlers, it is an order of the Council," I said. I never liked the sound of my own voice when I was giving orders. "They are there to help them rebuild after all. If they insist then we can allow them an isolation order but I'd like to avoid that if possible".
"Shall we confiscate their Kryptonite?" I nodded. James, Leah and Amit would have no problem with that since they were part human and immune to Kryptonite.
"Good Sir, Kara, J'onn," he said nodding his respect to them and he supersped away. "I can't go now, the Council still needs finalising, there are problems that need dealing with". "Maybe these Kryptonians in the Ta-lek sector have experience of living among other species, if we find out
anything useful we will let you know," J'onn said. I often thought he would be a much better leader than me. Sky, Kara and J'onn left down the stairs after we said our brief goodbyes and I watched them fly past the loft window and up into the atmosphere. I wasn't alone for long as my granddaughter Shona came up the steps carrying her newborn daughter Chloe in her arms. My 2nd great grandchild Chloe had been born a week before Lois died. Shona looked tired. You could always tell the new human parents from the new Kryptonian parents.
The humans always look exhausted and the Kryptonians look like they have had 10 hours sleep. Being only Kryptonian Shona was as tired as any human mother like Lois was when I couldn't be there, which was more often than I liked.
"Thought you might want to cuddle your great granddaughter," she said as she got to the top of the stairs. Shona has a beautiful accent not quite Irish like her fathers was, not quite American. Shona handed Chloe to me and I felt calmer watching her try to focus on my face. "She only ever likes to be held by you or me and Bill so far. No one else. With Mam earlier she just started howling".
"Maybe she could sense you were both upset about you leaving". "I don't know how Mam can leave now, so much is going on. But she's desperate to see what these Kryptonians are like, unlike Zara and Ching's fleet they've been raised on a planet rather than in spaceships". "You know it will be 20 years next week since they landed on Earth," I said. "They came 5 years after the war". "I was still a baby," Shona said. "I'm glad this little one will be like me and doesn't remember those times.
Hopefully her generation will see Kryptonians and Humans working together rather than tolerating each other which is normally only because you order them to".
"I don't know we've already had 22 Krypto-Human births since they arrived excluding any from our family, things are looking better. Plus like you, Chloe will be able to tell the truth about where she is from," I said.
"I can't imagine what it was like for you Pops. Having to pretend you were human, having to pretend you were two separate people - even to Gran". Lois had worked out who I was eventually. It had only taken her two years. I couldn't help being taken back to that street in Metropolis over 60 years ago. It was raining lightly and quite cold. There was garbage everywhere being blown about by the wind, and noise, the wonderful noise of a busy city.
"I'm sorry Lois I have to go I have to," I said. We were stood a few feet away from each other in the street and had just been on a date to a good Italian restaurant. We had been dating for three months by then but we hadn't slept together yet and I kept having to make lame excuses.
"Clark we're in the middle of a conversation, where can you have to go at eleven o'clock at night that's more important than talking to me?" Lois exclaimed, annoyed. "I'm not gonna let you run off again".
"I have to". I was desperate now. "Why do you keep pushing me away? You know whatever's bothering you, you can tell me Clark - you're supposed to be my best friend". "I'm not pushing you away but I really have to go". "You are pushing me away and not just in the bedroom, you don't tell me anything". "Lois if I don't tell you things maybe it's because I find them hard to talk about, maybe I've been trying to protect you". "That's crap, you just want to protect yourself. That's why you didn't tell me about the FBI
investigating you when you were a kid. And you didn't tell me about Lex and Lionel Luthor doing secret investigations about you"
"You've been digging dirt on me?" I said, I was pretty pissed off about that. "How could you Lois?" "There were journalists even Perry - he thought you had special powers, there was a weird alien marking
burned on your parents barn, you did your best to cover it all up Clark but you forget how good a journalist I am - Perry never did mention the details of when you two met in Smallville".
"He didn't mention it because he was embarrassed because he's wrong - I don't have special powers". Lois looked at me her mouth wide open. I knew then that she knew. She had worked it out but I couldn't stop to talk I had to help the woman who was still screaming for help.
"Open my shirt," I said suddenly. "You'll see what I've been hiding. And whatever you believe I was trying to protect you". And Lois knew I was also afraid of what she would really think of me. Lois walked up to me her hands shaking and she began undoing my shirt but she could barely manage one button.
"Fucking hell," she said. She knew it would be there, the red and yellow `S' staring at her. "Lois". She ripped the shirt open and touched the suit. "Oh God," she said looking up at me and she suddenly clutched her stomach and threw up in a nearby bush. "Lois are you OK?" I asked, concerned. She hadn't thrown up from shock like that since we found Chloe's dead body in the canal. "I'm OK Clark," she replied embarrassed and she waved her hand at me. "Now go". I zipped away and can
only imagine what Lois's face looked like. I went to help a woman who was being mugged and may have ended up being raped by a gang of thugs. I took the woman to the police station, Mary Bryant who liked Coldplay, and left her with a female officer. Normally I would have stayed till a member of her family arrived but I had to get back to Lois. The whole incident took about 10 minutes and I returned to Lois dressed as Clark.
"I better walk you back to your apartment," I said. During the walk back we didn't say a word. Lois ran straight to the bathroom when we got into her apartment.
"Are you OK?" I cried. "I'm just getting the icky sick taste out of my mouth," she shouted back and she began swishing mouthwash about in her mouth. "I love you Lois," I cried and Lois spat her mouthwash out in shock and she ran back into the living room. "What?" she said wiping her mouth with her sleeve. "I love you," I said placing my glasses on the sofa arm. It felt so good to do that. "I love you too," Lois replied and she laughed. "I love you so much I want to hit you and make love to you all at the same time". "Don't hit me," I said smiling. "It wouldn't hurt you," she said and I could tell she still was still processing the fact that what she had
suspected was now confirmed. Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same, I had fooled her into thinking I was two separate people for two years. I had lied to her for longer.
"Just kiss me," I said softly as we moved closer to each other and as my lips met hers it was as though I was kissing her for the first time. We moved over and sat on the couch - even in her heels Lois was still six inches shorter than me. We kissed for about an hour because we wanted to be close to each other, because in some ways we wanted to get reacquainted and because we didn't want to talk about it, not yet.
"I can't believe I didn't realise before," Lois said after she pulled away from me, she was out of breath and her cheeks were red. I imagine I looked the same as always. "It's not like I had never seen you without your glasses before, when I lived in Smallville you didn't wear glasses".
"You didn't see me for 6 years and then when you did I was wearing glasses and purposely wearing those big sweaters to make me look fat. When you saw me without glasses I had my hair slick back and I was wearing the suit with the big S on my chest".
"It was certainly eye catching," Lois said and she smiled again. She looked so beautiful when she smiled. It made me think of what Mom said when I became Superman, "they're not going to be looking at your face".
"What are you smiling at?" Shona asked, smiling too and I looked down at baby Chloe and handed her back to her mother. I felt angry she had brought me back to reality, I felt so angry, and Shona could tell.
"Maybe I should leave you alone". "No," I cried. "I don't want to be alone". "Pops I know you are really hurting right now but you aren't the only person to lose a wife or a
husband, you got over sixty years with Gran, my Mam had four years with Dad and that was it. He never got to see me grow up, I don't remember my father. I know this is harsh but you knew this was going to happen, what warning did Mam have that Dad would get killed by that bomb? And don't you think it kills her every day that she couldn't save him, that you couldn't save him? She didn't say but I think she's gone to the Ta-lek sector because she wants someone who will live as long as she will. If she marries another human then he could die like Dad did," Shona said and I was shocked.
I didn't know what to say. Of course logically I knew I wasn't the only one grieving, I wasn't the only person who had lost someone. I took Shona and Chloe into my arms and Shona looked up at me like I had all the answers.
I knew I wasn't alone and that there was a future. Lois had once said to me that we would have a wonderful life together and that then I would have another one. But I can't see it, I don't want to imagine it, not yet.
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