Author's note: I am playing around with this plot, let me know if you think it is any good!
PeterThere was once a boy named Peter, who never wanted to grow up. But this story is about a girl named Wendy, who was really not so different from Peter, except growing up was not her choice.
At night, after her brothers had went to bed and her father had put the bottles away and fell into a fast drunken sleep she looked up at the moon. That night it had been full, but full of what, she often asked. Cheese her brothers would joke, but Wendy saw the moon as something filled with hope, maybe even happiness. She lay in her white nightgown and let the familiar cloth comfort her and after gazing and contemplating the white spheres content, she was able to fall asleep.
Her dream that night was not like any Wendy has ever had, she dreamt of a mysterious boy in a worn out green shirt and a place that was warm and wonderful with sunlight and sunset, but she shook the dream as soon as her youngest brother, Fred, woke her up with his muffled sobs, he asked her,
“Wendy, I miss mother, where do you think she is right now?”
She had no answers for poor Fred. She thought of her mother, in her last weeks with them, she was so sick that she lost all of her beautiful auburn hair and lost all of the warmth in her smile. The only thing that Wendy could hold onto was the glow in her mothers eyes that never vanished, Wendy only wished she could have some of the glow to share with Fred. Physically, all she had left from their mother was the golden locket that lay on her neck with her initial S, in it. But Wendy could not let Fred down, so she responded.
“Oh Fred, she is watching us from the moon, don’t you worry.”
“Do you think she knows about the spelling bee today?” Fred asked expectantly.
“Well of course dear Fred, she knows and is waiting for you to shine on the stage! So hurry and get ready because you, have a big day ahead of you.”
Once Fred sauntered off, the other two boys were awake as well. There was Greg, at 11 years of age, and Tom, who was just reaching 17, and they were all getting ready to go to school that day, just like any other day. Wendy’s father of course had not been awake, so Wendy was in charge of packing the lunches and doing the morning chores. You see Wendy was 17 and her 18th birthday was just 2 days away, she was dreading this day, the day of her adulthood. But Wendy was already trapped in adult-hood, she was the mother to three boys and the care-taker of a grumpy old man who had once been there for her. All hope of her childhood would be lost and not even hope the size of the moon could help her through that.
As the boys took their bagged lunches and Wendy watched as Fred and Greg walked out the door to the bus stop and gave both of them a kiss and told Fred we would all be there to cheer him on in the spelling bee this afternoon. After she yelled for Tom who came in rushing as usual with his hair a mess and collar popped in different directions.
“Come on Tommy, we are going to be late.”
They walked down the streets of San Francisco and it was a cold and muggy day like always but as they approached school she saw a bright green shirt, it looked like a patch of spring- time got confused and ended up in a dreary winter’s day. The green shirt was familiar to Wendy, but as soon as she placed her finger on it, the clarity was gone along with the speck of warm green.
Wendy kept to herself at school and did not have too many close friends, she did have Sarah, who was always kind to Wendy and for that, she was thankful. It wasn’t like Wendy didn’t want more friends, she just could not find the time, and Sarah liked to keep to herself as well, she didn’t ask her many questions and Wendy in return did not have to share any information.
“Good morning Wendy… Tom, hello,” Sarah greeted the pair.
The bell rang and they went to class together, her favorite class had always been literature, a class where everyone could discuss novels and deeper meaning, where Wendy had the opportunity to just listen. But today, she was distracted by a green shirt sauntering in her peripheral vision. Sitting the table over from Sarah and Wendy was a well built boy who upon closer inspection, had warm freckles and creases in the corner of his mouth where he smiled.
Wendy could not help but to stare at the stranger, when he looked at he her, she blushed and tried to avoid it, and just as he was about to crease the corners of his cheeks again with a smile for her, the teacher interrupted. Ms. Carnen was overly enthusiastic this morning, nearly transfixed and it seemed to be because of – “We have a new student everybody!” she was nearly yelling. “Peter!! Please Peter won’t you stand up for the class and say hello,” Wendy felt embarrassed for him. But Peter obviously did not feel any resentment toward Ms. Carnen because he welcomed her introduction and stood up with a smile that resembled Fred’s one filled with boyish hope and youth.
“Hello, My name is Peter, and I am from South Dakota.”
What a strange boy, Wendy thought to herself. But out loud, all the students were making mooing sounds, mocking his small town roots. Ms Carnen seemed to take this offensively and gave the two boys in the front row mooing the loudest, detentions.
Peter sat back down and we continued with the lesson. At the end of class, Sarah said to Wendy a little too loudly for comfort, “Did you see the way that new boy looked at you Wendy?” But she had not. They were discussing Kate Chopin’s role of feminism in The Awakening and she forgot about the boy all together. “I guess not,” Wendy replied embarrassed. “Well he was looking, but it was strange, it was like he wanted to tell you something for the entire 50 minutes of class… I was surprised he did not just blurt out something right then. Ms. Carnen would have been fine with it, didn’t she seemed obsessed with him?” She asked too many questions and was rambling too much, Wendy’s head was spinning with questions only one person could answer. And that certainly was not Sarah.
“Yeah, I think she was.” As Wendy and Sarah walked she overheard Ashley, the school flirt also raving about Peter. Wendy decided that she must pay closer attention to Peter and decide what it is that everyone was talking about.
The entire day went by without the emerald shirt anywhere in sight. But just because she did not see Peter, does not mean that he was not there. It seemed like everywhere she went, there was a group of Ashley’s raving about Peter and his charm.
Wendy must have been talking out loud because a few steps behind her a boy in a green shirt with auburn hair and white teeth said “Is there something I could help you with…. Wendy?”
He moved in closer to her and she took a few steps back out of habit. “Oh no, no thank you.”
“You sure? Because you seemed a little un-sure walking around like that with your books in your hand and your forehead all crinkled with confusion.” Peter said.
“Well I guess I was wondering what it was that everyone was raving about, you are supposed to be charming, and I don’t see it.” Wendy did not want this kid sticking around, she figured she would do what she does best. Push.
“Now excuse me, you have not even met me properly.” After that he bowed down in a sort of flying motion and ended up on one knee and said “Hello, my name is Peter- Peter Pan. And you?”
“I am Wendy, Peter Pan.”
She looked him up and down. His looks did not go unnoticed any longer. The way his face was tanned with freckles made her giggle, the way his shirt fit around his biceps made her stomach churn and the way he smiled and winked made her heart melt.
“Yes, just Wendy.” With that, she walked away and forced herself to not look back.
“Where are you going Wendy?”
“Home Peter, and you?”
“Well, I am off to Never Never Land… you wouldn’t care to join me would you?” He was yelling now and smirking with each word.
And as he walked away, she whispered to herself… “Someday…”
Peter heard Wendy and started to walk so fast, you could have sworn he was taking flight.
Fred was the hit of the spelling bee. He beat Johnny Masterson by spelling courier, “C-O-U-R-I-E-R.” When the announcer said it was correct the entire family, except Wendy’s father jumped up rejoicing for the small win that they could all share together. They felt like they were floating on clouds until they got to their house and heard bottles smashing everywhere.
When they entered the house, Wendy saw her father in a pool of blood on the floor. “TOM! CALL 911!”
When the ambulance finally came, I had Greg watch Fred while Tommy and I went to the hospital.
“I promise, one of us will be home to tuck you in, you can count on it, and you were so very wonderful today. I don’t want anything to spoil it. Do you hear me?” I said sweetly, but you could still hear the bitter in my throat.
“Yes, I love you Wendy.” Fred said.
“I love you too my spelling bee champ.”
Tommy and I pulled away from the house and drove in silence to see father. When we got there the doctor briefed us on his severed hand and the large amount of blood that he lost. He would need a full recovery of one week but he is going to be ok.
“Does your father drink a lot Ms. Wendy?” A friendly nurse asked.
Here was the question, it was almost an automated response. Like I just had to press a button and the answer would eject right out of me.
“We recently lost our mother and he has found alternative ways of… mourning. But this is the first time he has involved alcohol,” I lie.
“Ok, don’t be afraid to tell us the truth. We just want to help.”
It wouldn’t help if dad went away though, it would only distress the little ones and I am not yet 18 so I wouldn’t be able to take them in as my own. Even though he was absentee he was still there to pay the necessary bills from his old company and he was still someone to call Dad.
Tommy stayed the night and Wendy went back to the house to make sure everything was prepared for tomorrow. I knew Tommy hated dad, but she also knew he loved me and the boys and the right thing to do was wait with our dad.
The moon did not do much for Wendy that night though. She lay awake until 1 AM when she was finally able to sleep. But that night, my dream was so clear that I thought it was happening. Peter, from school came into my window, like he was descending from the moon. He swore to me that he would fix my problems and give me back my youth. He said that Wendy never had to grow up. She of course, refused his proposal of eternal youth and woke up. But at that moment being so close to Peter, she felt warm.
Fred came in and woke her up as usual. Tommy took the day of from school. And Peter was standing outside of Wendy’s house. When he saw her walking the boys to the bus stop he called her name but she pretended not to hear. She was too nervous that maybe he knew what she dreamt. Which was ridiculous, but she was so self- conscious of how close she felt to him, it made her knees grow weak at the sight of him.
She ran back in her house hoping that he would go on his way to school. And when Wendy returned later to the sidewalk in front of her house, Peter had been gone. Good, that was what she wanted, she thought to herself. She wanted him to leave her alone. She wanted him to stay in her dreams.
The day moved quickly, Wendy wanted to relieve Tommy of his hospital duties so right after school she went on her way trying to avoid all things Peter. At the hospital she kept to her school work and tried to avoid the people in white coats. Her father was feeling better and apologized to Wendy and of course Wendy forgave him like she always does. He insisted she return home to the boys.
“They are lost without you my darling Wendy,” her father explains.
“Ok Dad, I will be back tomorrow to make sure you are feeling better,” she replies.
She walks back to the house and when she arrives, the house has been made up entirely. The sheets are folded, dinner was made and the kitchen was cleaned. Wendy tried to fight the tears and let the love for her brothers poor out of her heart.
“Boys!!” She cried. “Are you lost dear boys?”
“Wendy!” Fred squeled. “I missed you.”
“I missed you back little man.”
“Can we have story time tonight?”
“Well of course we can.”
The boys had always loved Wendy’s stories. She could tell them for hours because story telling was her favorite thing to do. She planned on majoring in creative writing before her mother died and father grew ill.
“Everybody gather around and make sure your teeth are brushed and face is washed.”
The boys slowly filed in, Tommy even came to hear her story tonight. Once everyone was in their rightful place, Wendy began a new story.
“There was once a boy named… Peter. His adventures would take him as far to the sea or as close to the Earth as one could ever imagine. He made very few enemies where he was from, in Never-land. But there was one that Peter could not shake. That was the terrible captain…” Wendy looked at the fishbowl and said “Hook! There was the evil Captain Hook. Hook was jealous of Peter and how much people adored him…”
Wendy went on like this until she found that her brothers were sleeping all around her. She must have not realized how long the story was dragging out for. But everything just came rushing back to her. It was like her story had happened, like everything she said about Peter happened. She almost felt like she was there to witness it all.
Greg whispered something in his sleep and she shook herself back to reality. She tucked them all into bed, including Tommy who had made quite the nest on the floor, and Wendy returned to her bedroom. When she slipped on her white nightgown with lace dripping down the sleeve and cotton hugging her loosely she was too tired to read or think so she just closed her eyes and let sleep take her.
Reality was the last thing she dreamt of though, tonight she was flying above the golden gate bridge and right next to her was Peter. Below she could see her father, her school work and her worries. And when she woke up the next morning, she felt something odd and unrecognizable, it was either happiness or the flu.
Her dreams continued like this for so many nights that she thought it would be enough in life, to just have these dreams and her brothers. If she had those two things, it would all be ok.
After a few weeks had passed by she found herself in a lecture that was so close to her own heart.
“So can anyone tell me why Edna was alone in her life?” Mrs. Carnen asked the class. I raised my hand for the second time all year.
“No one understood what she was going through.” I replied
“Very good Wendy, now what was it that she was going through? Yes Peter?”
I swung my head around to look at him while he answered.
“An inner battle. She wants to break away but is scared to leave, she does not want to be like everyone else, she wants people to accept her and love her like Robert can.”
His eyes were burning into me, but I refused to look back. What was it about Peter that made her heart beat faster when he gazed at her?
After class Peter followed her and she knew but did not know how to react. She suddenly felt ill and thought maybe it was the flu that plagued her this morning so she decided to call it a day and head home to visit her father and to rest some more. Missing a day of calculus will not hurt, she hoped.
But Peter kept following her, as she turned the corner out of school onto the busy street and as she walked up to her sidewalk. Wendy finally turned around to address the out of place boy.
“Stalking me is not going to help your charming reputation Peter.”
“I have been trying to get your attention Wendy, you won’t listen to me.”
So maybe Wendy did put on her iPod while she was walking home, this was still not a good reason for Peter to follow her all the way back to her house. He had to go home- at once.
“Can we talk?” He asked.
“Sure… come inside.” What a great fight she put up, Wendy thought to herself.
Wendy wasn’t embarrassed by her house. Her father had sold a successful internet company around the time Wendy’s mother grew ill and since then, their lifestyle has been comfortable. So when Peter followed her inside she wasn’t worried about what he would think of her exterior, she was more worried that he would see underneath and into her dreams where they have so often talked before.
“Wendy, I was wondering if you could help me with something.” Peter’s expression changed to something of urgency.
“With what? Your English homework?” Although the teacher loved him so much he didn’t need to even study for an A.
“My best friend, Tink, is not feeling well and I was hoping you could come over and help me heal her…”
Wendy did not even know where to begin. First Tink, sounded like a girl name and she suddenly felt a pang in her stomach that resembled jealousy. Second, what could Wendy possibly do that would help this so called “Tink” she wasn’t a doctor or anything. But Wendy asked Peter what was wrong.
“I am not sure, she is just so tired and sad all the time.” He too looked sad and tired now that she let herself look closer.
“What would I possibly be able to do?” She had the right to wonder.
“Trust me, you are already doing more than you know. Just come with me.” He held his hand out to her like he had done in her dreams just before taking flight. Wendy knew that she had to take Peter’s hand and go with him. So she did just that and did not look back.
Wendy did not ask where Peter was taking her. She just followed him, trusting that he would not steer her wrong. They reached a that on the outside, looked cold and boring but on the inside was warm and filled with lights and happiness.
Peter stood in front of Wendy now and took her by her shoulders. “Ok, be careful because Tink is a little jealous of you. She doesn’t understand why she needs you to help her but I told her that this was the only way.” And in one fluid motion he pulled me in front of a bedroom and opened the door. She hardly had time to think of the reasons why this girl she never met would be jealous of someone like Wendy.
She stepped into the room to find this petite blonde girl laying on a pink bed. Tired was an understatement, this girl looked drained of everything. But she could still tell that she was beautiful and that she was probably dating Peter.
“Tink, this is Wendy… the girl I was telling you about.” Wendy noticed how Peter was choosing his words carefully.
“I know who she is Pete, we have met before.” Tink said weekly.
“We have?” I answered, snapping myself back into the reality of the conversation.
“You see! She doesn’t even remember me, at the rate I am going I will have to join my grandmother and the rest of my family back-“ Tink didn’t get the finish to keep explaining her troubles because Peter cut her off quickly.
“Tinker Bell! Give her some credit, she made a decision a long time ago to forget about us, this is going to be harder than we thought.” Peter confessed to her.
“What are both of you talking about?” Wendy was beginning to get angry, being left out of the conversation like this.
“Having any strange dreams lately? Ones about pretty boy over here perhaps?” She asked intrusively. A soft shade of red came over Wendy’s face and Peter picked up on the fact that she must have been embarrassed.
“How did you- I don’t understand…” Wendy was beginning to draw back towards the door.
“Wendy please, listen to me. There is a reason you have been dreaming like that lately… about me.” Wendy could have sworn she saw a flicker of a smile flash across his face. “ I have been trying to get you to recall our adventures together. It is not fair that I am doing this to you, but we needed you to help Tinker Bell, she needs you to believe in her again.”
This was becoming too much for her to handle. The only thing she could think of asking was “So you were forcing me to have these dreams?” She asked.
“Yes, but-“Wendy did not let Peter finish his thought, she was already out the door and running in the other direction towards her house.
Wendy had thoughts that all of her happiness had been a lie. She was being forced to be happy and she was being forced to adulthood. She could not handle another person telling her what to do. Peter called back after her but she was running too fast now, her wrath blocking out any plea he was giving her.
Wendy looked at her watch and realized it was time to go pick up her dad from the hospital and focus on what really mattered, her brothers.
That night she returned her father home to the house and tucked him into bed safely, the doctor told him that drinking was not a good idea. He would not listen, this Wendy knew. But tonight, he was sober and that was a small gift within itself.
Wendy felt tired from the day but was nervous about falling asleep. She thought that Peter would infiltrate himself into her dreams, however he did it and she would end up going with him and she did not want to lose control. But the harder she tried to stay awake the more tired she grew until she eventually had to close her eyes and let sleep take her.