For those that have followed me since I jumped online, you'll know that I post this little story here every Christmas. You see, this time of year draws me to a certain location. That location is a cemetery where a very special little boy rests. It's people like this and like Uncle Ben that keep me doing what I do. I find it only appropriate to retell the story now:
So yesterday at around 4:00pm I head out as I usually do to make my rounds of the neighborhood. Wasn't much happening at that time so I decided to head back to the apartment. When I got over Greenwich Village, something caught my eye. From the rooftop of an apartment building, I noticed a woman frantically waving her arms about. Thought it kind of odd as my spider-sense wasn't kicking off. With curiosity getting the best of me, I decided to head down for a closer look.
Enter Traci Madison.
When I approached her, she stood there and stared for a moment. Almost as if in fear. She then collapsed in my arms and began sobbing uncontrollably. This is her story:"S-s-spider-man -sniff- -sniff- Spider-Man... I-I'm so glad you stopped -sniff. I-I-I have a favor, well, I didn't know what else to do, b-but my son, my son wants only one thing for christmas. I told him that it was impossible b-but I would do everything in my power to see that Santa got him his present." "What is that?" I asked. "You. You Spider-Man". -sniff- You are his hero. You are all that he thinks about. You are his clutch to life."
Okay. This got my attention. So I continued to listen."You see Spider-Man, Timmy my son, has non-hodgkins lymphoma. The doctors are trying everything to keep him with us but the reality is, this will most likely be his last christmas with mommy & daddy. Meeting you is his one single wish."
For a moment I was speechless. 'Where is your son now?' I asked. "He's downstairs resting" she said. 'Why don't you take me to him. I think I know someone Timmy needs to meet'.
Their apartment was a modest abode. A small living room joined by two bedrooms and a kitchen. A cocktail of medications adorned the countertops. "Timmy's room is there, on the left" Traci said. I started down the hallway, wondering what to expect. I've been in many situations since donning the Spider-Man guise, but this was a first.
I opened the door and stood there.... in shock. "He's a baby!"
I thought. Timmy couldn't have been more than six. The disease had taken it's toll on the tike. You could see it in his actions. He moved slow and calculated as if not to cause further pain. Then it happened...
Timmy looked up and saw me standing there in the doorway. It was as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Life filled his eyes and then, yelling at the top of his lungs - SPIDER-MAN!
His bedroom was a shrine to Spider-Man. Everywhere you looked, the familiar red & blue pattern adorned his walls. I had no idea I made such an impact on the little guy. We had a great time together. He has every newspaper clipping put out on me (yes, there were alot of bad ones by the Bugle) but as Timmy said "I know these aren't true..." We then spent the next hour or so just chatting. Then he asked the question - "Spider-Man? Can I see who you really are?"
I stood, moved toward the door and closed it. Sitting back down, I slowly pulled off my mask. Timmy sat on the edge of his bed in awe. Looking at Timmy, I whispered "My identity is our secret Timmy. My secret keeps people I care about safe". "And that secret makes you a pretty special kid. Now, I gotta go. You get some rest little guy"
. I slipped my mask back on and hugging Timmy, I left through the window. Timmy's eyes as big as saucers and never saying a word, waved me off.
When I got to my apartment, I pulled off my mask and collapsed on the couch. The emotions were daunting. I was left with the thoughts of this poor kid and the burden his parents are going through and the nightmare that awaits them.
I stared off into space -
Its been quite a few years since that day. For some reason, I always think about little Timmy this time of year. Before leaving his grave site, I left him a little present. A Spider-Man doll so hopefully he remembers me.