I had watched Disney’s Peter Pan more times than I could count. Wendy was always my favorite because she, like me, was the oldest sibling that could dream but was being constantly pressured to grow up. Sure, she had two little brothers, which I didn’t have, but in my head Michael and my baby sister Hannah were interchangeable. They both wore pink. Close enough.
Wendy loved stories. I did too. Peter Pan was drawn to stories about himself that Wendy would read to her brothers every night before bed. I did the same. I’d pull a picture book from our bookshelf downstairs and scurry up to my bed. Setting my favorite stuffed animals up in a semi-circle around me, I’d cross my legs just like Peter did in the story. Then I’d start reading, focusing hard to get the words right and not rush the story. Peter needed plenty of time to fly from Neverland, and I didn’t want him to show up just as I finished a story.
I’d force myself to stare at the pictures, and not turn to my window. Peter would come, I just had to be patient. No use checking the window ahead of time. But try as I might, every time my curtain moved, I turned. I’d hear noises, tell myself: It’s just a car, dumbo, but it didn’t matter. I’d turn to look, my heart skipping up my throat, threatening to leap right out of my mouth.
Finally the anticipation was too much and I’d spring from the bed, race to the window, gripping the bottom frame tight. I’d push the curtains back see the big tree out front waving back at me, and the street glowing orange thanks to our crummy streetlights. I’d search the skies, cursing airplanes for distracting me, looking with all my might for a shadow to block out the moon for a second. The stars would wink at me, as my hope drained.
“He’s just picking someone else up. He’ll be here soon,” I’d mutter to myself. I’d suck in my bottom lip, gnawing on it; hoping and hoping, hoping and praying.
“Please God let him show up just for a little. I don’t have to go away to Neverland forever.”
I decided to wear shorts to bed just in case Peter decided to show up and take me away. If I was gonna be in Neverland for the rest of my life (which I planned to, no matter what I told God), I was going to wear shorts and my favorite t-shirt. Itchy dresses made of velvet and children’s nightmares were for church and church alone. I’d be going to Neverland dressed in hot pink shorts and an old Vacation Bible School t-shirt (Outrigger Island themed).
Despite my hopes, prayers and desperation, Peter still hasn’t shown up. America sucks for a variety of reasons but mainly because Peter Pan seems to only haunt England and Hogwarts’ letters get lost when they travel across the pond.
I never stopped hoping for him to show up outside my window. I kept it unlocked in case he wanted to pop in and visit. Every now and again, I’ll open a book and read aloud. I even moved my bed under my window so I can fall asleep under the stars. My eyes will search the skies, brimming with the stars, desperate for a shadow to blot them out. Maybe I should’ve left him a note on my window sill, in case he shows up to my house.
Hey Pete, sorry to miss you! Can you get me from college? If it’s not to much trouble. I mean, it’s been 10 years but hey better late than never!
I’ll keep looking out for him, searching the stars for a shadow. One of these days, he might turn up. But till then, I’ll wait and collect more stories. I’ll keep telling them, writing them, and sharing them; till one day, if I’m very, very lucky, he’ll appear. I’ve got all the faith and trust I need, happy thoughts too. I’m just waiting on that avalanche of pixie dust.
Balls in your court, Pan.