It is our destiny to die; but before we die, we must grow up.
A lot of people like to ask me about Peter, and how he is now. People often ask me if I can tell Peter to come to their homes and sprinkle them with pixie dust. They dream of being one of the Lost Boys. They dream of spending the nights soaring the skies with the fabled Peter Pan, as I did. They want to be friends with Peter Pan, only they don’t know him like I do.
Though I spent nights upon nights with him, it would be a lie for me to say that Peter Pan was my friend. He and I shared a peculiar relationship of which there was much love and understanding, but also much envy and deceit. He would often tell me his troubles, and I would tell him mine. Apart from the other Lost Boys, I knew I was Peter’s favorite. But, again, I would not say we were friends. He only liked me because he wanted what I had. He wanted to keep me around as to know how to catch and keep what is mine. He was envious of me. However, in return, I was also jealous of him. I envied his happy, go-lucky, carefree, personality. I envied his pure confidence in himself, and, of course, I envied his youth. All of the Lost Boys followed him because we wanted to be like him, not exactly because we liked him. We, too, wanted not to grow up, and live forever among the fairies of Neverland. But, in the end, we all did grow up, and we were either banished(if Peter liked you enough), or put to the death of glory, to live in your eternal youth on the other side. Peter liked me enough, sure, but he was also very jealous of me. He wanted something of me.
What he wanted from me was Luiza.
Luiza was my girlfriend- not my girlfriend- it’s complicated. Luiza and I met in rehab. We both suffered from an uncommonly young addiction to alcohol. When I was fourteen, I was admitted to the hospital for liver failure. When I was supposed to be discharged to home, they sent me to St. Anne’s hospital for the mentally ill. I was in the mental hospital for about a month before being moved to an adolescent mental health residential treatment center. I was surprised when I got there to meet another alcoholic.
Luiza stood only a few inches shorter than me, with long brown hair and bright blue eyes. She and I hit it off really well, and grew close in the residential. The staff there were obviously onto our relationship, and were constantly watching us. However, on the occasion that they were not, we would sneak off to screw around. She was sweet, but funny and snappy. She held her own really good against anyone that wanted to give her a hard time, but could also be amiable and kind. Her voice could suddenly change from harsh and quick to soft and endearing. She was, in my eyes, perfect. We hit it off great, all until she got transferred.
The treatment team didn’t think that the treatment was working, so they sent her away to another treatment center for her alcoholism. I was devastated. I shut down emotionally and was never the same afterward. Soon after, I left, too. Luiza and I tried to keep in touch by calling one another but it just wasn’t the same. Luiza and I tried to hold a relationship, but it was so hard with her in her treatment center and me trying desperately to stay out of treatment myself. I spent about a year like that, trying to stay out of treatment, but eventually it became too much.
I met Peter Pan on the night of my sixteenth birthday. My parents had planned me a big party and everything. But that was the night I planned to commit suicide. I couldn’t take it, I had been struggling with the urges to drink and on top of that the only thing i the world I loved was so far away but so close. The treatment center that Luiza had been sent to would not let me visit her, and I couldn’t stand being away from her while struggling with my own problems. It was all too much to handle, I had to find a way out. So I made my plan. I have a window in my room that once climbed out of has easy access to the roof. So, on the night of my sixteenth birthday, I kissed my parents goodnight for the last time and thanked them for the great party, and went upstairs to “bed.” I would be going to sleep for the very last time..
I climbed onto my roof into the cold night air and immediately felt like something was wrong. Either there was a sharp draft or someone was breathing down my neck. The night was dark, though I could see perfectly well in the illumination of the great, white face in the sky. The stars, too, gave a great amount of light to irradiate the brisk dawn. The air itself was invigorating, giving a quick chill to my shoulders, bringing the red, pop-art spots up on my arms. The city looked quiet and peaceful in the night, a sea of kitchen lights glowed all over and stretched before my eyes. The roof, however, was pitch dark. I could only see the shadows of the TV antennae, and the chimney. The chimney had an odd shape to it, however, as if someone were sitting on it, peaked like an assassin waiting to strike. However, I was focused on my task, and paid little attention to the strange chimney apparition.
I crouched over the side of the house, taking a seat on the ledge of the roofing, looking down at my landing zone. A large stairwell awaited me, surely I would fall onto the stairs and break my neck instantly. Will it hurt? I wondered. Maybe for a second. Suddenly, my life began to flash before my eyes. I began to remember the many things I would be giving up. I remembered the day I first learned to ride a bike, the day I had made the game winning touchdown in football, and the night Luiza kissed me for the first time. Luiza….I thought. I’m so sorry.
I tried to jump, but I hesitated. It seemed so easy when I had planned it, but now I began to feel scared of the afterlife. Will I go to hell? I thought. Is there a hell? What will happen to my soul? Where will I go once I’m gone?
“That sure is a long fall,” a voice said. “I thought for sure you would get cold feet, and it looks like I was right.”
I turned around and there he was. Sitting on the chimney, he rolled out his neck and chuckled. Then, I could see the moonlight reflected off of his smiling teeth and I knew for sure that I had a visitor. I quickly climbed to my feet.
“Who’s there?” I called, getting into my best fighting stance.
Suddenly a blindingly bright, glowing orb floated from the figure and zipped around the mysterious figure. Then the man jumped, though gravity didn’t seem to have much of an effect of him. He gently floated down onto the roofing as if he were on the moon. When he landed, I found that he must not be a man at all- but a boy! He couldn’t have been taller than five feet, and he seemed to be wearing some small cap.
Slowly, he made his way into my view. He had short, blonde hair and a charming, freckled face with glowing green eyes. He wore a dark, brown cloak and a green poncho. His feet were covered by a pair of furry moccasins and his legs with a pair of long, baggy, brown pants. He was smiling up at me.
“You really are quite a sob story,” he said. “An alcoholic at the age of fourteen….that’s just tragic.” His voice had a slight nasal squeak to it, like a small air horn.
“Who the hell are you?” I asked.
“Peter Pan’s what they call me. But the real question is, who are you?”
“I’m nobody,” I replied, turning away from him.
He quickly jumped at least ten feet into the air and floated down in front of me, balancing on the edge of the roof. “Come on,” he said. “Everyone’s got a name.”
“It’s Rowan,” I returned.
“Well, Rowan, I have to say, you’re quite selfish.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
He smirked. “To just decide that your loved ones don’t deserve your presence anymore, just like that.” He crossed his arms, shook his head and made clicking sounds with his mouth. “And your girlfriend, what would she do without you?”
I gasped. “How the hell do you know Luiza?”
He seemed to glide toward me, the glowing orb following him. “I know of many people, for I’ve lived a long time.”
I chuckled. “What, how old are you, twelve?”
He laughed. “I wish,” he said. “I’m one hundred and nineteen years old.”
“You’re really funny,” I said, sarcastic.
“It’s true, Tinkerbell here is twice that, or more!” He pointed to the glowing orb, which I now found was no orb at all. It was a very tiny person; a small girl, in fact. She wore a tight one-piece and out of her back stabbed two large wings, by which she was flying. She had long blonde hair that she tied up in the back of her head. She made a smirky sound and flew behind Peter.
“What do you want from me?” I asked.
“I want to make you believe.”
“You want to what? Look, pal, I haven’t exactly had the best day, so I think it would be best if you just turned around and went back to where you and little light-bulb came from-”
“Hey-hey!” he shouted. “Tink’s got quite the short fuse, watch what you say about her. Look, Rowan, you obviously didn’t have a lot of plans for tonight, so before you do what you were going to do, let me show you something.”
I was passed annoyed at this point, but would also do anything to distract from having to kill myself that very night. “Fine,” I said. “What is it?”
“It’s a place,” he said. “And we’re going to fly there.”
Out of his pocket, he threw a large quantity of glitter at me.
“Flying is easy,” he said. “Like I always say, all it takes is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.”
The glitter flowed around me and suddenly I felt so much lighter on my feet. I felt like I could jump thirty feet high. The glitter itself was gold, the color of the metal. It sparkled greatly along with the other lights of the night.
“Now,” Peter said. “You will jump, but this time, you will catch yourself.”
“No I won’t,” I replied. “I’ll fall to my death.”
“Just believe,” he said. “Believe in me, and believe in you.”
I didn’t want to go with him. In fact, the only thing I felt like doing at that moment was going to sleep. It had been one hell of a night, and I wanted it to be over.
“Come on,” he said, motioning me to follow him with his arm. “I promise that you’ll never be lonely. Isn’t that what you want? Not to be so lonely anymore? The place I’m taking you is filled with activity. Come on, Rowan.”
I sighed and nodded. He ran over to the edge of the roof and turned back to look at me.
“Okay,” he said. “This is it. It’s a leap of faith. But be careful, the moment you doubt that you’re able to fly, you cease to be able to do it. Think of happy thoughts when you jump. Think of happy thoughts and you will fly.”
I figured I had nothing to lose. so I tried to think of the happiest memory I could recall. When I had it I ran for the ledge and bounded.
There she was, in the world of my memory; Luiza, sitting in front of me. She was singing. It was a few days before her transfer, and we hadn’t figured out our relationship yet. Too focused on her task, she didn’t pay attention to me. But I was seeing her. She looked prettier than ever, and her soft voice filled the air spreading out a warm radiation, possessing me.
“I told you you could do it!”
I snapped out of my fantasy and looked around. I was floating. The ground, only twenty-some feet below, appeared a dark hole of nothingness. I looked around, the neighbors had left a light on, but hadn’t noticed me. I hung suspended in the air, feeling light as a feather. I did a few flips and turns just floating.
“Come up here!” Peter called. I had almost forgotten he was there. I pushed with all of my might upward and I hovered up to his location.
“This is amazing!” I yelled to him, a smile forming a bridge between my ears on my face. “This is magic! How are you doing this to me?”
“I’m not doing anything,” Peter replied. “You’re the one flying. You need to learn to believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.” Then he leaped into the air himself, Tinkerbell at his side. “Follow me,” he said. “I’ll take you away. Come! Neverland is not so far!” And then he cleared his throat and sang:
“Make way for the great marching band,
One that plays it’s way through the land,
Of rapers and robbers and deep quicksand,
Make way for the trip to never never land!
The band begins to play,
A sweet song if I should say.
But the audience turns old and grey,
And never again sees the light of day.
Then the conductor calls out and sings,
‘I know a place where you’ll grow wings,
And you can fly where reality no longer stings
And all of you become kings!’
So, the conductor he sends,
The band all around the bends,
As the call out to wake the hens,
‘Let’s go to Neverland and never come back ‘till forever ends!”
“What is Neverland?” I asked.
“Neverland is the place where dreams come true.” He smiled like a child on Christmas, tugging his mother along to show her what Santa brought. “I love dreams,” he said.
“Oh yeah?” I said, not really interested.
“Dreams are where everything that was once great can come back and be in your life again.”
You’re telling me, I thought.
“Do you dream of Luiza?” he asked.
His question caught me off guard. Such a personal question to ask upon first meeting someone. “Sometimes,” I said, “why?”
“Just wondering,” he replied.
We soared above the town. It’s funny how unreal the colors of the world look from the sky. The whole experience seemed unreal. Just from the flying experience, however, I was beginning to like Peter Pan. He seemed to me so carefree and happy, he seemed like he couldn’t go a day without having fun. I wanted to be like that. But without Luiza, I just couldn’t.
Finally, we reached Neverland. We arrived on a beach which led to what appeared like miles of jungle. Gently, my feet hit the sand. And from that day on, I became a Lost Boy of Neverland. Peter took me to meet the rest of his group and I fit in great. I always worried to him about getting back home to my parents, but all he said was, “in Neverland, time doesn’t exist.” It all felt like a dream. Together we raided towns, stole goods, and even had fights with pirates. We sailed on Peter’s ship the “Jolly Roger.” He claimed to have taken the ship from the dreaded Captain Hook long ago.
Our friendship grew over time. The more raids we did together the closer we got. In the beginning, I was one of the chumps, barely invited for anything. But as time went on, I became one of Peter’s favorites. And after even more time, I became his absolute favorite. He considered me a brother, and I reciprocated the feelings to him.
Peter liked to ask me often about Luiza; and as we became better friends, I told him more about her. He would invite me to the deck on the nights when the rest of the crew was below, asleep. There, we would drink ale and chat about each other’s lives. He loved to tell the tale of the time that he faced off with Captain Hook one-on-one, it was my favorite, too. With me, however, he did not appear to be interested in anything but my stories regarding Luiza.
“Tell me how she first kissed you again,” he asked, one night.
“Well, it was Christmas Eve, and everyone had gone to sleep but us. I had made her a necklace and intended to give it to her then. So, when she was getting ready to go to sleep, I walked out and gave it to her. She was very happy to get it, and seemed very grateful to me for making it. I put it on her and just as I turned to leave she stopped me. She pulled me close and kissed me. Just like that.”
Peter squealed as he laughed. I joined him. What can I say? We were drunk as all hell.
“Why is that so funny?” I asked.
“It’s not!” he replied. “I just love that story! It’s so perfect! Luiza sounds great, Rowan, I hope you marry her someday.”
“Thanks, Peter. I wanted to ask you something.”
He turned to me, silent. I could hear the faint sound of the ship rocking and the waves crashing against the sides of the hull. He walked up to the ledge and put his arms on it. I followed him and we stood together at the port side of the deck. “What is it?” he asked.
“If Neverland truly is the place where dreams do come true, could I see Luiza here?”
He let out a sigh of relief, as if he was expecting me to ask him something else, something a lot more personal. But, still, he looked at me with a faded smile. “I’m sorry, Rowan,” he answered. “But although Neverland can conjure up what seems like anything, it cannot bring our loved ones to us. She will have to come to Neverland herself. You could bring her, you know. I’d allow it.”
I sighed, “I’d love to, but I’d have to find her in the first place.”
“You’ve lost her?”
“I can’t seem to hear from her, no matter how hard I try.”
Suddenly he seemed to grow surprised and angry. “You should never have let her go!” he yelled. “You should have held her and never, ever, ever, ever, let her go!”
I put my hands up in protection. “Jesus, Peter, I think you’ve had a little bit too much ale. Here, let’s go back below-”
“No!” he screamed. “You complete dipshit, Rowan! You realize what has happened! She’s gone! You’ve said goodbye! Now she’s gone and forgetting you right now!”
“Forgetting?” A small spark in my insides began to grow.
“She’s probably forgotten you now! You’ll never see her again! Luiza is never coming back, Rowan! All because you said goodbye to her! Never say goodbye! Why does everyone always say goodbye?”
He began to cry, and curl up into a ball at the base of the center mast. I went to him and tried to console him, but he snapped at me and pointed his finger at me. He scrambled to his feet, sniffling up his snot and wiping his tears away. “You! Get away from me! Leave me alone!” He screamed into my face hard enough for me to feel his saliva drip on my face.
“Peter, let me help-”
I slowly backed my way down below the deck. What the hell is his problem? I wondered. Fucking loony. I went to my room and thought it over. Why would he want to bring Luiza to Neverland? Then, it hit me. He’s jealous of me! He wants Luiza for his own! That’s why he asks about her all the time, and that’s why he wanted me to bring her here. And then, when I said I didn’t know where she was he flipped out! Then I thought about it even deeper. He knew about Luiza even before he met me! That’s got to be the only reason he took me on as one of the Lost Boys! He just wants Luiza for his own! That forever-young bastard!
I stormed back out of my room to go and tell him straight. However, on my way to the deck, when I passed the captain’s cabin, I heard a squeal. The cabin door was ajar, so I peered my way in. I could hear the sounds of sobbing coming from deep in the room. I looked far across the room to the bed and there he was. Peter lay across his bed, face in his pillow, arms hugging it, squeezing it to death like a snake does to it’s prey. He cried loudly, and without restraint. Why, he’s bawling! I thought.
“Wendy!” he cried. “Why? Why did you leave me? Where are you? Where are you, Wendy Darling?” He bit into his pillow and screamed as the tears jettisoned from his tear ducts. I slowly backed up out of the room so he wouldn’t notice me eavesdropping. Only when I had closed the door did I realize I had backed right into somebody. I almost shrieked, revealing my presence to Peter.
But it was Thomas, one of the other Lost Boys. The oldest of us all, he liked to mock and question Peter and his orders, knowing his time would come soon for death or banishment. He obviously didn’t want to leave Neverland. He was tall, stout, and had a short beard of facial hair down the sides of his face, presumably to piss off Peter.
“Thomas,” I whispered. “What are you doing here?”
“Funny,” he replied. “I could ask you the same thing.”
“Peter was mad at me for-”
“I know why, and you shouldn’t have done it.”
“How was I supposed to know?”
Thomas sighed and motioned me to follow him up to the deck. We took a walk to talk. “Peter has this problem,” he began. “He grows attached to certain people, as they do him. He forms bonds. This Wendy Darling was a special case, for he loved her. He loved her and planned to marry her. However, a problem soon came to the surface.”
“She grew up,” I said.
“Yes, and worse, she married one of the banished Lost Boys. She grew up and could no longer love a boy such as Peter. She felt bad about it, too. But I can’t blame her. After all, who would want to grow old while their spouse remains forever young? Peter at first felt betrayed, and angry. Soon after, though, he sank into a dark depression. They say he has never been the same since. You see, Rowan, the reason he took interest in you is that you remind him of himself. You had young love and lost it, and you’ve been looking for it all this time, just like he has been searching for Wendy. They say that Wendy is all he ever dreams about anymore. He spends all day sleeping, hoping he’ll dream of her.”
“Who’s they?’ I asked. “How do you know all of this?”
“My father was a banished lost boy. He told me that Peter only needed one thing: death. Peter has been in Neverland for years upon years and ever since losing Wendy he has been miserable. He needs to be euthanized. And my father sent me to do it.”
“You’re going to kill him?”
Thomas sighed. “I’m not doing it because I want to, you see. I’m doing it for Peter’s own good. He can’t enjoy living this long as miserable as he is.”
“But you can’t just murder him!” I protested.
“I thought you would be on my side with this,” Thomas looked confused.
“Never! I- I can’t believe this.” I turned and ran for the captain’s cabin. I had to warn Peter of Thomas’s plot.
When I turned from Thomas, however, I suddenly saw the entire crew standing before me, and Peter leading them, teary eyed. He suddenly pointed at me. Thomas grabbed my shoulder.
“Him!” Peter yelled. “Get the plank out!”
Suddenly the Lost Boys shuffled to the starboard side and placed down a long sheet of plywood and locked it in place. I realized what was happening when Thomas put me in a headlock and squeezed me against him. I squirmed for release the best I could, but I could not get free from his grasp.
“No!” I yelled. “No! Peter! Listen to me! Thomas is planning to kill you!”
But he didn’t listen. I was thrust onto the plank and one of the Lost Boys pushed me forward. They began to chant:
“Walk the plank, walk the plank!
Be punished for all that you took!
Walk the plank, Walk the plank!
Just like the old Captain Hook!”
I shivered as I was pushed forward toward the end of the plank. I looked down and saw what awaited my jump. Three crocodiles had gathered at the bottom of the plank in the water, mouths open, awaiting my sweet flesh. I turned for one last pleading to Peter.
“Please, Peter, listen to me. They’re going to kill you!”
Peter looked over at Thomas, who was standing next to him, then back at me. He cleared his throat. Suddenly, a glowing ball floated toward me. Peter started.
“Tink! What are you doing? He is condemned!”
Tinkerbell landed on my shoulder, and suddenly I felt light on my feet once again. I knew what she had done, and I smiled on the inside. Then Tinkerbell leaped off of me and flew back to Peter’s Shoulder, and whispered in his ear. She must have been listening to Thomas and my conversation! I thought. She knows his plan, too!
“You, too, Tink? You have decided to join up with Rowan against me?”
Tinkerbell suddenly flew back from him.
“Kurt!” Peter called to one of the Lost Boys. “Get a jar!” Tink tried to fly away but was caught and thrust into a small glass bottle and sealed tight. I looked back at Peter, and his eyes were red. All I could see in him was rage. He had gone insane. A once great, sweet, young boy who refused to grow up, now had become a shell of rage and anger.
“Peter!” I called. “This isn’t what Wendy would have wanted!”
He looked at me and the veins in his eyes grew flexed. He let out a loud yell and drew his dagger. “Never, ever speak that name to me!” he screamed. He marched to the plank and placed the blade at my neck. “Jump!” he yelled. “Go on!” He pushed me and turned around. I stumbled, but did not fall. He went back to his spot by Thomas. I turned around and looked down at the crocodiles, their mouths snapping, waiting for me.
His voice echoed in my ears. Think happy thoughts and you will fly….Once you doubt you are able to fly, you cease to be able to do it. I thought back in my head for the best memory I could muster up, one that would topple over the fear I felt in that moment. Then I knew, and I jumped.
It was her, the minute I gave her the necklace. She saw it in my hand and smiled. I said something to make her laugh as she turned around for me to put it around her neck. Then, she turned around and looked at me. I stared back into her eyes. I turned to walk away, but she put out her arms and I went to her. She put her lips on mine….
The crocodile’s teeth closed just before my feet, and suddenly I was hovering above them. It worked! Suddenly I heard Peter shriek in pain. I looked up at the ship. That must be Thomas killing him right now! I soared up above the boat. No one had noticed me, they were all too busy fighting each other. Apparently, Thomas had a whole group of Lost Boys on his side, all forming against Peter. The rest of them were trying to defend him. A whole fight had broken out amongst the Lost Boys. One of them dropped Tinkerbell and the jar shattered. She flew to find Peter, as I did. I scoured the area before finally finding him.
He was laying on the deck in a puddle of blood. I floated down to him and knelt beside him. I cradled his head in my arms as he coughed up blood. He had been stabbed seventeen times in the back and sides(though only a few of the cuts seemed deep enough to do any real damage). He slowly opened his eyes to face his eyes on me. When he saw my face he began to cry again. Only this time, it was purely out of sadness and not anger. He reached his hand up and placed it around my neck. He gagged as he tried to speak.
“I- I’m so sorr-” he coughed. “Sorry, Rowan.”
“Don’t try to talk, Peter, you’re going to be just fine.”
“No,” he said, trying to shake his head, but only coughing up more blood. He looked up at the sky.“I’m not. I know I’m dying, Rowan. But it’s okay. I know Wendy is on the other side waiting for me. Dying will be fun. To die is such a great adventure.”
Tinkerbell showed up then and landed right by his head. All around us the fighting continued, but somehow, I forgot it was happening. We were cut off from it, just the three of us. “Tink,” Peter said. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me….don’t remember me like that. Remember me like I was not just before Rowan, but before Wendy, too. Remember me of when I was good. But please, do not forget me altogether.” Tink then began to cry herself.
“And Rowan,” he said, at last, looking at me. “Go back home. Fly back, leave this Godforsaken land. Go to the real world. Never again try and escape it, it’ll do you no good. No matter how hard you try, you can never cheat reality. Go and find Luiza. Find her, and marry her. Never again have to say goodbye to her. I know you can do it. My time has come, so go on and live your own adventures. Remember, dying may be a great adventure, but it never compares to the adventure of living.”
He coughed three more times separately and then Peter Pan died.
I sat out the rest of the battle with his lifeless body. I closed his eyes. “Goodnight, my brother,” I said. Finally, the battle ended. Thomas and his gang had won.
Thomas threw a dagger at the ground next to me. “Will you fight?” He asked.
Tinkerbell looked at me with an unsure expression, I nodded at her and then she flew away. I looked back up at Thomas.
“No,” I replied.
He sighed. “Then you’re banished from Neverland, never again to return. I revoke your title as a Lost Boy and you may never again come to this dreamland.”
I nodded in understanding and remained the rest of the voyage back home in the cargo hold. Thomas, kind enough, offered me a ride back home so I wouldn’t have to fly in the cold. The body of Peter Pan was tossed into the ocean never to be seen again. Thomas took over his position as leader of the Lost Boys.
After a few days, the Lost Boys let me go at the harbor near home and I left in silence. When I reached home, the magic of the pixie dust left me, and I was forever a normal person once again. It was a bittersweet ending to quite the experience. I often wonder what ever happened to Tinkerbell. I always hope she is still out there, somewhere off in Neverland. I never saw or heard from her ever again, same with any of the Lost Boys.
I would never even dream of returning to Neverland. I’m here for a reason. I’m here to embrace reality, not run away from it. I’m still here to fight my way through adversity, not avoid it. I will search for Luiza. I hope I find her. I hope to see her and hold her hand. I hope to see her and kiss her again. I hope.