I stood at my bedroom window, and gazed in wonder at the nighttime sky above. The sweet sound of summertime crickets and late evening breezes made a perfect backdrop to my imagining, and I think made things feel even more magical. I folded up the pieces of paper that I had stacked neatly in front on me, on my windowsill. One after another I let them fly; twirling and twisting … up a bit .. and then gracefully down to the ground below they went, these little airplanes of mine. This was going to work, I just knew it.
“Of all the delectable islands, the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact, not large and sprawly, you know, with tedious distances between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed. When you play at it by day with the chairs and tablecloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very nearly real. That is why there are night-lights. ” J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
My favorite story, when I was a little girl, was the one about Peter Pan. The notion of a friendly, boy who could fly whisking his friends off to a land far away, past all the clouds and blue skies and stars was positively fascinating to me – the stuff my dreams were made of. Literally, I dreamed about this happening to me, never really sure if my dreams were real or, well, just dreams. Night after night, I would sit up in my bed with a start, checking out the window to see if anyone was there. Is that you, Peter? I could’ve sworn I saw his shadow … Hmmm maybe tomorrow night. I don’t really consider myself the jealous type, but my jealousy of Peter Pan’s Wendy was a fierce affliction with which I struggled on a regular basis. Battling pirates, swimming in a mermaid lagoon, running barefoot through the forest with Tiger Lilly, sleeping in the treetops with the lost boys … for the life of me, I couldn’t dream of a more perfectly perfect existence. Still can’t, come to think of it.
At one point in time, during the height of my love affair with Peter Pan, I wrote a letter in an attempt to contact him, in the hopes that maybe I could steer his attention from Wendy just once – to get him to come to MY bedroom window, and whisk me away to Neverland with him:
Dear Santa Claus,
Do you know God? If so, could you please tell him to send Peter Pan to my house?
Scrawled in red crayon on wide-ruled paper, it felt like a reasonable request. Or maybe it was a prayer, disguised as a casual request? Up for debate I suppose. Anyway, I was so certain my wish would be granted that I told my brother about it and we both did our very best to prepare for Mr. Pan’s impending arrival. We dressed for the occasion of course, my brother securing an old towel to his shoulders with two clothespins in an attempt to fashion the most noble of capes, and I took great care to select the perfect dress; one that was pretty enough to impress the lost boys, but also sensible enough to make the flight. If only I put this much thought into my wardrobe choices today.
We played music and danced and belted out every Disney song we knew, hollering the words out my second-story bedroom window, completely oblivious to any and all innocent bystanders outside. When bedtime finally rolled around, I said goodnight to my little brother and promised him that I would wake him up just as soon as Peter Pan arrived. Crossed my heart. Continue reading