All my life I have never wanted anything more than a child of my own. My luck has been so bad: the women in my life either didn’t want children or couldn’t get pregnant. So when the spirit of the river called to me, I listened intently. It told me of someone else’s child, a baby girl, who had slipped on the rocks and fell into the raging waters. It told me she would die if I did nothing (like so many on the riverbank who simply froze and watched with horror).
I answered the call head first. I nearly hit the rocks below the water’s surface. My hands instinctively saved my head from being crushed. I immediately surfaced, took a deep gasping breath, then swam as hard as I could, keeping the girl in my sights. Nothing else mattered, not even my life.
Somehow I felt that saving this little girl’s life would somehow make up for the fact that I may never be a father, a father who is the archetypical hero to his child. After battling the raging torrent over a period of seconds, I caught the girl and pulled her to the shore. She coughed and sputtered. Her mother ran up and took her from me, held her close as she started to cry. The mother was white with fear but she managed to thank me profusely. Some men came and pulled me out of the river. I was so cold from the freezing water I couldn’t get out by myself. The little girl’s father also thanked me.
I may never be a father myself, but that day I was a hero.
Challenge: Write something (poetry or prose; fiction, nonfiction, or essay) that includes an archetype and a stereotype. If you’re feeling really expressive, try combining both into the same person, thing, or situation.