GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
After watcing Tinkerbell's new movies, and outraged Peter Pan decides to set the record strait once and for all...

Submitted: April 24, 2010

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Submitted: April 24, 2010

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By Jessica S. Sumner in Spring of 2010
My name is Peter Pan. Don’t think this is a joke, please, because it’s not.I’m the real Peter Pan. I live in Neverland, but some things are different than from what you may have seen. I have a group of friends, boys who bunk with me in a natural recess in the lower valley. A hide out so to speak. There are hardships we face, but they are unlike the ones seen in the cartoon movie about my namesake. Be aware, it is unwise to believe even cartoons are incapable of falsity. My mother, however, long ago, back in London before tucking me in, used to say: “All tales begin with a grain of truth, though rarely keep even small reflections of original inspiration.” Back then, this struck me as unimportant, really. What did it matter if other stories were not what they seemed? Stories like Cinderella, Repunzal, even Little Hiawatha were words on paper. But as the centuries on Neverland have passed, and my awareness has been drawn to the dreadfully contrary meaning of the name “Peter Pan” my mother’s words have kept my anger at bay during some of the worst times.
Through the magic spring with pooling waters that can show their watchers anything happening upon the mainland, I was privy to the appearance of my name in “The Little White Bird” in 1902.J.M. Barrie must prospered greatly by the antics of the boy he called by my moniker during his theatrical debut in 1904. As time passed by, I saw corporations like Disney reaping the profit from the adventurous tale; a tale that is continents away from the truth of my existence. My only qualm, truly, thus far, is that TinkerBell, that wicked pixie, has a movie made of her life and with amazing technology, her story misses very little authenticity. I am maddened by the thought of her portrayal as a quirky fairy with a brazen temper (which is a nice way of putting it), and then some ginger haired boy stalking young girls at their window looking for their shadow is purportedly what I do with my evenings. It is simply preposterous!
I shall start at the beginning of my story. The true story. I must warn you, it is not a pleasant one. I was a child living in London with my parents in a nice little flat back in 1773. Our family didn’t have much money at all because my father neglected his accounting firm in order to assist the government in their attempt to regulate the childish ordeals of the American colonialists. I was appalled even at the age of thirteen to watch such a horrid waste of tea!
I was preparing myself for advanced education.I would eventually attend Dulwich College like many other boys in the area where we lived.I had planned to study everything. I wanted to do everything. I had no one goal in mind for when I grew up. One day my father told me of his intention to add me to his staff at the accounting firm. I was vexed and would have been damned before I was caught in the holds of his monotonous firm, inside an awful building with no windows. A very dismal place.
One warm August evening, lying in bed and thinking of adolescent thoughts, I began to close me eyes for a deep sleep. Ere I understood what was happening, a blinding light shone in a small orb above my prostrate body, which turned rigid at once. Without warning I saw the dainty female visage flittering near my face, and without certainty my eyes beheld two iridescent wings fluttering intensely behind her, attached to her back. I ask you, were you there, what would you have done? I was merely a 12 year old boy, enthralled by the beauty, the miniature stature, and of course the wings upon the impossible flying around my room. And then it spoke.
The fairy told me, with a charming voice as sweet as honey dew that she could show me a place in which I would never have to suffer the maladies of adulthood. I could simply play with other boys my age on a jungle-like island filled with diversions, for as long as I wished.
TinkerBell took a leaf sack from around her waist and grabbed a tiny handful of the substance which glowed within. As she flew to look me strait in the eye she told me breath out, then in. That is when she blew the gold dust in my eyes, nose, mouth, and I breathed it deeply in. A sudden rush of euphoria, and much to my consternation, I was hovering over my windowsill, leaving my room forever to follow the pixie to what I believed would be a better life. What I know now, but simply accepted as perfectly logical while conversing with a pixie, that dust would be involved for the trip to happen. I had no idea what that would mean as time would go by.
To be clear, many drugs were curious things to people whist in the turn of the 19h century.Drugs so peculiar as opium, and others, comparably pixie dust is a drug as well.It can make you fly to the heavens. It will perpetually redirect your priorities. Unbelievably, pixie dust allows a person to endure conditions they never imagined endurable.Its secret is the way it causes the mind to hide within madness while masquerading within certainty.A person becomes blinded by the “now,” and becomes oblivious to the many other happenings around them. In my case, it took over two centuries and Walt Disney’s entertainment for me to come to terms with the insupportable conditions I resided in for so long.
By the magic of the Watching Pool, I have become wise where a boy my age is generally ignorant. I feel I am a boy whose childhood veil of blissful ignorance has slowly lifted and then dissolved. I am distraught, however, because what use is knowledge if I am unable to share it with anyone. Not my family, they are long dead, not their children’s children, they are unreachable. Not even my childhood love. I am beset by my impotence, and tortured by the things I see in the Watching Pool. I am desperate to connect to those I watch, but both frightened and incapable of touching them. I am here, and they are there. I chose this…
What I chose is indeed, like the cartoon, an island. Except there are no Indians as our playmates, and there are no pirates as our foes. To be perfectly candid, not much of the layout in the movie resembles the true arrangement of Neverland. We boys are confined to our quarters which lie near the base of the Pixie Dust tree. There are meticulously made tree and frond huts, circled in an encampment with Tinker-fairy crafted wooden tables and awkwardly designed activity equipment, such as balls and trucks and things. We eat what we are given, and drink from a spring which trickles through the north cliff of our dwelling. Within the small parameters grows a certain docility that we live in until the high point of our day arrives.
Pixie dust seems to be the only good part of our day.Once immersed in the intoxicating substance, we are hit with a forceful burst of general interest (making out playthings desirable once again). We are carried powerlessly away as the dust brings upon delectable rushes of delight.We then play for hours with each other, as though it is our heart’s content to be trapped on this island; until it wears off, leaving us confused for hours and then struck by melancholy once again.
A grain of truth does exist regarding both the pirates and the Indians, though nothing like what you have learned. Just after I arrived, in 1775, the mermaids who reside in the island’s lagoon came to Pixie Hollow and persuaded the pixies to give them enough dust to lift a large vessel from the mainland and bring it here. Normally, pixie dust is stringently monitored, but the mermaids had an advantage to aid their desire. They are sirens with time on their hands, and mischief in their blood. Turned out, they brought a ship that they had seen while on its way to the American colonists. The mermaids had grown tired of the Spanish schooner acquired a few centuries before, and they set their sights on the billowy sails of the Totongo. Bearing beautiful carvings and daring gun, the Totongo arrived in a manner in which every resident of Neverland caught sight and was momentarily hypnotized by its grace.So vividly I remember it sailing through the clouds, down to the bay in the west coast of Neverland. When it disappeared I felt somehow empty. It was that attractive a ship. I later learned it was meant to have played a key role in strategy to help Britain during the Revolutionary War. Conceivably, had it not been removed, the outcome of the war may have been very different.
Today, approximately 75 men remain aboard the Totongo. You see, every twenty years or so, a man becomes so enthralled by the song and beauty of a mermaid’s that he jumps off the side and then swims frantically toward her. Poor chap treads water once he is within a foot’s reach, his legs churn the icy water beneath him until his heart fails and he sinks to a watery and meaningless death. I pity the men who have lost their lives for the mermaid’s amusement, but there is nothing I can do to stop the dreadful procession. I have found, over the years, there is a lot I am unable to do; it tears at me inside to no end.
As for the situation with Indians: there is a tribe of Shawnee who live here. But don’t get any hopes up, we do not know how to speak their language, and do not interact with them, for they are on the other side of the island. We also would never regard them so belittlingly as to ever inquire “what makes the red man red.” That portion of my animated tale is frustratingly far from reality. Apparently, this particular tribe was so a key player during the Dunmore War in 1774. While British diplomats isolated them during the conflict, a Garden Fairy named Rosetta abducted the tribe, and isolated them here. She is famous for her hated humans who disrespect the earth in any way. During their battles, they destroyed a lot of their surroundings. Rosetta’s punishment was a trance put upon them. They are trapped in a continuous and futile hunt for deer, deer nonexistent, on Neverland. In the morning you can hear their cries as they prepare their arrows and horses, and their vigor has not faded since their arrival. I honestly do not know who’s fate is worse, theirs or ours!
As much of the erroneousness has now been rectified, the most important element of my story must not go untold. There is indeed a Wendy, but she was a love of mine from before TinkerBell came into my life. I longingly and mournfully watched her as she grew older, had children who grew older. Everyone died, so I just kept watching as the next of her decedents had children, and then more and more.
It is an intriguing family that Wendy began, to say the least. Through the Watching Pool I saw Wendy’s daughter, Catherine bully boys on the playground that Wendy and I had courted. Technically we were in separate schools, with adjoining playgrounds. I remember Wendy at age 11, accepting gracefully flowers from I field I would toss to her. They would brush past her lattice white blonde hair and land next to her black Mary-Jane shoes.She would sweetly smile and call to me, “Be careful Peter, or one day I might just love you!”Frightened and enthralled, I smiled back to her. How I yearn for these moments, to have them back.
In any case, Wendy is gone now, and she left Catherine who in 1814 brought Elizabeth into the world. Elizabeth had a wavy and wild mop of fiery red hair and a high pitched squeal of delight that could break glass. Then, in 1844 Elizabeth’s daughter Martha was born. Martha became the first woman to protest slavery. Thirty years Martha grew, and she gave birth to a little girl with wide searching eyes that seemed to register the whole world in one glance. Her name was Florence, who married Emanuel Lasker, and while married, she taught her husband her favorite pastime game: chess. In 1894 Lasker took home to her the World Championship trophy for Chess Tournaments. I remember applauding to no one but the trees around me, nevertheless it was like I was there, and Florence gave birth to Ethel in 1902, a rambunctious daredevil who dove constantly off of the family sofa. Ethel became a trapeze artist with Barnum and Bailey at twenty. For five years she wowed crowds of people until another sweet baby girl came along, Daisy, who enlisted to the Red Cross in the WWII. Daisy wielded a gun when forced to, and scared the hell out of a German or two. Daisy had Patricia, a spirited hippie who loved horses, and in 1999 produced the lovely Emily, my true love today. A spitting image of Wendy, she is my soul motivation to seeking an escape back to the mainland. Back to life.
Thinking of Wendy and Emily, I lay in my bunk and recalled the night TinkerBell came to me. I was restless, and had been going over and over again all that made my life what it was; and all the problems with my life. Oblivious to the power of a single wish, I wished for everything to all just go away. Loving Wendy and my father or not, I was simply not ready for everything that was happening. The accounting firm, Wendy’s professions of love.
And that was when she appeared. TinkerBell in all her beauty, saying to me: Come with me, Peter. There are many like you who are waiting to play. You’ll never have to be an adult. You can divert yourself with your imagination endlessly. It was something I craved as I was moving closer to young adulthood. Becoming a man—I didn’t want it, so I agreed. I have regretted it everyday ever since. But as luck (and decades of planning) I have devised an escape!
* * * * * *
I realize the world will seem strange to me at first, but I have prepared well. I am driven by my heart, my burning desire to make contact with Emily. Thus far, my plan is dose myself with the entirety of the smuggled rations I have knicked for years. A Dust Fairy once let slip that enough dust will get anyone to the Mainland, although, he did not know if I will begin to age again when I arrive. No matter, I will sort it out once I arrive. In the dead of night, tonight! I shall make my escape.
I will head for Surrey where an orphanage is funded by St. Erconwald Church. Professing amnesia, I will be at the mercy of the nuns and will hopefully become their ward. Emily lives with her mother down a cul-de-sac on a street parallel to the church. No accident of course. Down Royston Close half way is a red brick first story and white wood second story lovely house that has a brilliant blue garage door. Can you imagine? Blue! And there, inside, lives and eats and plays my Emily. Or, at least, I pray to Father in Heaven that she will love me too.
In my bunk I stashed an acorn bowl now filled with luminescent grains. Faster than I can register everything I am sprinkling the dust upon me, and then lifting awkwardly above the ground. I feel the pixie dust chasing through my blood, and suddenly anything feels possible. With a silent cry of delight, I push my way upwards to the sky. And before I realize the ground has become very far beneath me, I am overcome with one feeling alone: I am free.
I see the island growing smaller beneath me, and then becomes shrouded clouds, I look for the second star on the left and head that way until morning. All night I fly until, through the murky darkness, I can make out a large tower with a circular light on each side. It is Big Ben! I am here, in London.
Carefully I set myself down on the side street off a highway in the middle of Surrey. I am but a few blocks away from the orphanage, and feel euphoric still until the warm glow of pixie dust leaves me. I walked up cement stairs to the church and I knock feebly on tall wooden double doors, I am out of breath and can hardly focus on the frieze of Saints Michael and Christopher jutting out of the entry way to the sanctuary. Suddenly I collapse. The cement is hard and coarse, and I am cold. The air here is heavy and thick. The night is darker than any night on Neverland. I feel a thick and heavy darkness drawing me into unconsciousness as the corners of my sight begin to darken before all is black.
I am awoken to a woman in her mid-thirties wearing a habit and propping me to a sitting pose. She is staring strait into my soul and asks with authority of my condition. “Boy, are you o.k.? Where did you come from?” I shake my head confusedly; tell her I am not alright. I do not remember yesterday, I claim, and then convincingly lie to her that my only memory is this church.
“I must have grown up here, or something,” I look with wide eyes at her and her sister, and then fall back to the floor again. The nun and three of her sisters carry me to an empty bed and place me atop a grey woolen blanket and stiff sheets on a metal railing twin bed.
There are other boys sleeping beside me, tossing and turning uncomfortably. Suddenly my stomach sinks, and I feel as if perhaps I have exchanged one nightmare for another. Removing just my shoes, the nun puts upon me the scratchy covers. She promises to bring me some food, while she walks away I hear her say, “If he were a ward here, we must have some record of it. Regardless, with his amnesia state, he will still need our care. He cannot be any older than thirteen. We must protect such a disheveled and weak looking creature. It is our holy duty!” I cannot explain why, but I am intensely weighed down by the force of air around me. It is as though each breath I take is filled with liquid or the like. And as my heart thuds against my chest, struggling for a full breath of air, I slowly fall asleep.
The next morning I look around at my new lodging. It is a great gray hall, with boys soundlessly dressing for the day. They move like they are military, and they seem to carry with them a palpable sense of hopelessness and rejection. They are like the boys in Neverland, but their conditions are far worse. They do not have fairies to believe in, or pixie dust to lift their spirits. I am almost dismayed at the thought until I remember something special.
I, however, have Emily. After a great deal of professing ignorance to all inquiries the nuns require of me, they release me to explore my surroundings whilst they gather supplies and clothes for me. This is the moment I have been waiting for. It is roughly two in the afternoon, and only a few minutes before Emily will take the back alley to cut to her house, passing by a brick wall which surrounds the play area for my new accommodations. I perch myself atop the corner of the brick walls and throw a rock in the air, absently catching it. Looking around there are play things within all the trees and rocks and brushes, but I resist the urge to entertain myself. I must exercise patience until I see what makes my heart beat uncontrollably. It’s her.
Emily skips along with three other girls I have seen with her before in the Watching Pool. “Would you like to hear a riddle?” I ask. They stop abruptly and turn to face me. Emily smiles.
“Sure. What’ve yah got?” the long yellow haired girl asks.
“Why is a raven like writing desk?” I ask, smiling mischievously
“Why do you repeat stupid lines from the movie adaptation of Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland?” the blonde asserts. I am stunned, I have no reply. She’s terribly rude.
“What a dork,” Emily says, “let’s go.” The girls walk off laughing to each other, heads tilted together. This is not what was supposed to happen. Emily is kind-hearted, I have seen her with her friends, family, even pets. She is kind! Why would she treat a perfect stranger with such indignity? I am both puzzled and troubled at this point, so I go back to the dismal hall, to my assigned bed to think things over. I lay down; my heart is pumping at an abnormally fast rate, and my breathing is shallow. Suddenly I look up and a small light makes its way in through the window and hovers a bit above a fan, then towards me and lands on my knee.
“I saw the whole thing with you and that girl,” TinkerBell tsks, “You’re so predictable, Peter! I knew you’d be here. You and that stupid Wendy. She was a bore.” She can see cold sweat forming on my brow and seems to know just what is wrong,
“No more pixie dust, huh? You know what? I don’t even know about people in your case. You might have some pretty bad consequences if you don’t come back now.” She walks daintily and nonchalantly up my nearly paralyzed leg. Mid-thigh she lifts to the air and hovers at my face once again, like so many years ago. “Your dreams are dashed, Peter. Emily, Wendy’s kin, does not like you. It was a totally disaster! And look at you now: you are in a room no better than the rooms back on Neverland.” Her voice lowers and I can barely make out her saying, “I want you back.” She begins to turn a slight shade of vermillion, and I am a bit frightened. TinkerBell mad is never a pretty sight. She flitters up to the ceiling fan and swiftly circles it before landing on one of the blades.
She calls from there, “Pan, you must come back, or you may die!”She flies further away and yells, “I can’t have you die!” then whispers, just barely audibly, “You are my favorite.” She hovers a few feet away and her color drains for a moment. I almost feel for her, but I feel for myself more. Am I facing death? I don’t wish to die on Neverland that I know.
“Favorite or not, TinkerBell,” with a firm jaw and eyes set I tell her, “I am not yours anymore.” Her face is deep crimson now, and her body begins to glow that ultimate color of both love and anger. I strike back loudly at her: “I wish to grow up. Even if that means to die!”
“What about Wend-I mean Emily?” she shrieks to me from the ceiling, “She does not love you. She mocked you openly. In front of her friends! What do you have to live for, Peter? You can already see her disinterest, how she treated you.”
“Tomorrow,” it is difficult to breath now. I suck in as deep a breath as I can and choke out: “I will try again tomorrow. TinkerBell, what you offer me if I return with you is a life of no more tomorrows. I want a tomorrow, even if that means I shall face death.” I stare at her gravely into both her eyes. The gazes are locked momentarily and then she looks away, defeated.
“Fine!” TinkerBell storms across the metal rail at the end of my new bed, “but don’t think I’m giving you any pixie dust to tide you over.” She scowls at me, “You look horrible! And I won’t come back for you again, Pan. Never!”
“I don’t care.” I lay gazing into the ceiling, past the ceiling, past the clouds, to the second star on the right, “I don’t want any more everlasting youth. I want to try…life.” And with that, in a huff, she is gone. I lie back and take deep breaths, sucking in air like an asthmatic about to choke. When the nuns come I listen to their concerns of my condition. I tell them that I will be o.k. momentarily. They go over with me the details of my new life. My life! A life I will cherish, regardless how long it may turn out to be.


© Copyright 2019 Jessa Sumner. All rights reserved.

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