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Angel the Neverchild

Once upon a time a baby girl was born. She was special, and all the nannies and fairies and wizards in the world wanted to take her as their godchild, but none wanted her as badly as Peter Pan. He loved her from her big smile and flat nose to her little fingers and parted toes, so he gave her the best gift he could offer - he made her into the first Neverchild. Every day he would visit her while she was asleep and sprinkle pixie dust over her and sing her songs and tell her stories about Neverland. Peter was forgetful, however, and after some time he lost the memory of where she lived, so he decided to find other special babies and give them the gift of being Neverchildren so that she wouldn’t be lonely without him.

Her name was Angel. She’d been born with a tarnished spoon in her mouth, the best that her parents could give her, and she grew happily, though she never truly grew up. It seemed that at the age of eight she simply stopped maturing, and that was that. From then on she stayed exactly the same. No one looked at her twice for it, because there were other Neverchildren, too, so while the world changed around them they remained young, always asking, “Do you want to go to Neverland?”

Angel asked me, once. The two of us grew up together. We were neighbors and had elementary classes together and sometimes, when my family would go over for dinner, we would steal crackers from the top pantry shelf and eat them on the porch. It was that way for a while, but once I’d grown older than her I threw sticks and stones and words like everyone else because we didn’t understand her. It made her cry and run away, and then some time later she’d come back and say,

“Do you want to go to Neverland?”

I always said, “No.”

It was that way for a while. We moved. I saw Angel at school, and I grew up some more, and I would smile and say nice things to her that I didn’t always mean, but she couldn’t tell, so she smiled anyway. She won awards and went to parties like the rest of us, but her only friends were the other Neverchildren and a handful of people who meant it when they complimented her, and she never stopped asking, “Do you want to go to Neverland?”. From 9th grade on she smiled and asked questions and talked about Peter, and we grew, and she didn’t. She graduated with her fist held high and her face full of pride, unlike the rest of us, and she grew, and we didn’t.

I saw Angel sometimes after that swimming at the pool with one of her Neverchild friends. I didn’t go often because I didn’t like the summer heat, but the last time I saw her she was playing mermaid and eating ice pops. She was happy like none of us had ever been, and I’d thought about saying something to her, but I never did.

One day we got a letter in the mail. That tarnished spoon had done the best that it could, but it wasn’t enough in the end, and there wasn’t enough money for the bills. She was too far down on the donor list and had barely moved up at all before her health caught up with her. Her heart faltered. She died. We grew, and she couldn’t.




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