The hat was a necessary purchase. A grown woman, born and bred in the midwest should have known to dress for any kind of weather in October, but in her defense, the forecast lied.
So there they were: two adult besties trying to recapture their adolescence via roller coaster at a superhero-themed amusement park, freezing their asses off in the unreasonably long lines of weatherproof teenagers. They had no choice to go in search of warmth. In the gift shop, the hat almost glowed, waiting for her. Blue, red, gold. Knit thick and warm. Stars. Power. Feminism. She pulled on the hat and struck a pose. “Look! I’m Wonder Woman!”
They giggled as she paid for her new hat and stumbled out in their giddy. They found the lines had all gotten shorter and the teenagers less annoying. “Wonder Woman saves the day!” she shouted.
They conquered every roller coaster and then returned to their private lives the next day. It was chilly, so she pulled on her Wonder Woman hat to go substitute teach a bunch of third graders. “Miss Wonder Woman!” the kids called out to her as she cut through the crowd of children waiting for the bell. She patted her hat and smiled.
At recess, she broke up three fights and saved seven children from monkey bar fatalities. “We love you, Miss Wonder Woman!” the children all said. “You’re a true hero!”
She adjusted her hat and smiled down as each child pushed closer to tug at her coat and pat her hand, their dimples deep and their eyelashes long.
On her way home, Wonder Woman stopped by to pick up her usual Monday night special for dinner: Lonely Girl Totchos and a side salad, extra ranch. But the man next to her started choking on his gum, and she jumped into action, performing the Heimlich maneuver perfectly.
“Wonder Woman, I love you,” he said. “Will you marry me?” he asked, producing a ring with a diamond the size of a Hawaiian island.
Ever gracious, Wonder Woman declined. “I simply couldn’t. Wonder Woman belongs to everyone. It just wouldn’t be fair.”
“Of course,” he said through his sobs. She collected her totchos and salad and left before it got awkward.
It continued all through the winter. Wonder Woman saved lives, brought peace. Then she went home and conditioned her hair (the hat really was itchy) and binge-watched cooking competitions with her cat while admirers left gifts on her front steps making it difficult for Wonder Woman to get to the bus stop each morning.
Eventually, they were knocking on her door. Most mornings she hadn’t even had her coffee yet. She began pulling the blinds and crouching behind the planter, holding her cat to her chest so they wouldn’t hear its purr. She sighed and tried to remember the last time she’d had the luxury of just lying around braless all day, reading romance novels and eating saltines with peanut butter.
Diane D. Gillette lives, writes, and teaches in Chicago. Her work has appeared in over 60 literary venues including the Saturday Evening Post, Blackbird, Hobart, and the Maine Review. She’s a founding member of the Chicago Literary Writers. You can find more of her published work at www.digillette.com.