At the station, Connie was left with mile-high piles of paperwork and a killer headache. That was why she didn't get to the school until 5:20; 20 minutes after aftercare had ended.
Connie arrived at the school to see her daughter, Marcela, sitting on the curb. Marcie's head was between her legs with her arms wrapped around it. When she saw her daughter, all of Connie's frustration washed away.
"Hey, Marcie," Marcela picked her head up at the sound of her mother's voice, " is everything--" Marcela cut her off by running up and engulfing her mother in a hug. Connie picked her up and carried her to the car and buckled her into her car seat.
"Mamí, can girls be superheroes?"
"Oh, of course, hija. What do you call what I do? I might not be all that super but on the occasion, I serve justice and saves lives. I help people."
"Well, Jacob said that I can't play superhero with boys because I'm a girl. He said I should play princess with the other girls."
"That's not right. Not all girls are princessas some are superheroes, right?"
Marcela looked uncertain. She had wanted to believe her mother, but at the same time, what about what Jacob had said?
While driving, Connie came up with an idea. "Marcie, if you could have any super power what would it be?"
The next day, Connie dropped Marcela off at the bus stop and waved the four-year-old onto the bus.
"Remember," she called after her daughter, "Great power comes with great responsibility."
Everyone on the bus was staring. Marcela was a walking attraction. She wore a t-shirt featuring an optical illusion swirling in and out as people watched. A swirl-shaped belt buckle held up Marcela's sequined, hot pink skirt. Her pink socks stretched past her knees patterned with gold and silver stopwatches.
Marcie turned to the girl sitting next to her and said, "I'm a superhero."
The girl looked unconvinced. "If you're a superhero, what's your superpower?"
Marcie grinned wide, lifted her chin and replied, "I hippopotamus people. I can make them do whatever I want."
The girl laughed and turned around in the seat to tell one of her friends.
When she got to school, Marcie hung her cape in her cubby so it wouldn't get dirty. She sat in her seat next to Jacob and waited for recess.
After three hours of reading and writing, the bell rang. Marcie grabbed her cape before getting in line to go out the door. Outside, the sun was warm and bright, tickling her skin as she walked out the door. The boys all ran over to the jungle gym where they played Superhero. Marcie sauntered over and leaned against the bars.
"So," Marcie looked around at the boys staring at her, "who do I save first?"
"Well," a blond boy said after a pause, "we usually formula a plan to save Captain Jeeves," He while pointing to a pirate action figure dangling from the top of the monkey bars.
No one objected.
Connie was surprised when her daughter came from school crying.
"Marcie, what's wrong?"
"I wanted to play Superhero at recess, but I couldn't because I'm a girl," she exclaimed.
"Because you're a girl?" Connie asked. She could not believe the audacity of those first graders.
Marcela nodded her head in defeat. This would not do, so Connie formulated a plan. On their way home, they took a detour to the mall.
The next day, Connie was a superhero wearing a glittery cape and tights. Kids in the hallway stopped and stared. She was a superhero. And she was a girl.
Connie came home to a crying Marcela.
"What's wrong, Marcie?"
"The boys said that I can't play Superhero because I'm a girl!" Tears poured down the little girl's face.
The next day, Marcie went to school as a superhero. She didn't need to play Superhero because she already was one.
I wrote the hint first, then the micro, then the flash.