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When Wendy Grew Up... and Him

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The cockiest of all boys has flown away, and the girl he has left watched as his silhouette grows a whole lot smaller, until he is no more. That is how she thinks their story has ended, for she never saw him again, though she waited many moons for him to return. The girl, together with the boys, are now grown, the boys having forgotten all about the island of Neverland.

But she will never forget, the chain round her neck proves it. It has an acorn button hanging on it, with a hole in the middle, and when she closes her eyes to picture the island, her fingers close around the tiny button, fingering it gently. Oftentimes her parents would ask her to replace it with something more beautiful but she refuses. She can't simply discard it. Her parents wouldn't understand. It was not just an acorn button, see, it was a kiss. It was Peter Pan's kiss, and sometimes she would tell the boys how the kiss got itself pierced and Tootles would look at it as though trying hard to remember how it happened, but all the adventures he had with Peter Pan has been swept away to a tiny corner of his mind so he would just shrug it off. It saddens Wendy a great deal to see her brothers and the Lost Boys forget, but it was really none of their fault. The boys simply had too much to learn and there was not enough space for everything.

So Wendy took to writing, so that when she forgets, she can read everything and remember. She wrote about the first time she met him and how she stitched his shadow. She wrote about the first time they went to see the mermaids, how wonderfully fascinating she thought they were, and about that time when brave Peter Pan saved princess Tiger Lily from Captain Hook and his cronies. She wrote about everything she can remember in a special notebook she hides in her drawer back in their nursery.

Sometimes she takes it out to read, and laughs at all the fun memories, and scowls at all the unhappy times, which is about the pirates, obviously.

 

Wendy grew to such an age until she is illegible for marriage. Until then she refuses to be in a relationship with men, turning them down more quickly than you can say 'please'. Mr. and Mrs. Darling were quite worried, and so they talked to each other about the matter when their daughter was asleep.

"We must do something about Wendy," Mrs. Darling would say, and Mr. Darling would pat her hand.

"Yes, yes," he would say, "she can't keep turning down men forever."

"At this rate, Wendy would grow old without marrying!" At this Mrs. Darling clutched her heart, and Mr. Darling came up with such a splendid idea and comforted his wife with it.

"Mary, I just thought of a wonderful idea!" said Mr. Darling quite excitedly. "Remember the manager of the bank? Why, he's got a son the same age as Wendy!"

"Oh dear, do you think she'd like him?" asks Mrs. Darling. She did not ask if the man will like her daughter. She thinks every man will fall for her dear Wendy. She is frightfully sweet and beautiful, Mrs. Darling is just so proud of her daughter.

"I have seen the man once and he's a fine lad who knows about stocks and shares." At this Mr. Darling nods his head approvingly, for who better to marry than a man who knows his wealth? Mrs. Darling has agreed to let the two of them meet and Mr. Darling has told her that he can invite the manager and his son to dinner at their house.

"Oh it would be so lovely," Mrs. Darling said with a clap, "to see our dear Wendy walk down the aisle." and Mr. Darling quite agreed with her.

 

The following week Wendy was told that they would meet her father's boss and his son. What she was not told was she was to meet a potential husband. Wendy agreed, under the pretense that it was just dinner, and told all her eight brothers about it. They all came dressed in their Sunday's best and added three chairs to their slightly crowded table, with Mr. Darling flinching at every whooshing of the door.

The bank manager, Mr. Banning, their father called him, came with his wife, Mrs. Banning, and their son who refused to be introduced. Wendy slightly frowned at this. Was it not proper manners to introduce yourself to the host? But Mr. Darling thought it was quite alright so she dismissed the thought.

Mr. and Mrs. Banning expressed their surprise over finding out about their nine children and they talked about it over dinner, about how they used to have only three and decided to adopt the six others, and how the expense was far greater than how they imagined it but still managed to raise them all. Besides, boasted Mr. Darling, all his children are now fine gentlemen working in offices and living in their own houses.

Mrs. Banning was extremely impressed at Mr. and Mrs. Darling for having raised all of them to be such fine people and gave them a toast.

"But what about you?" the man whose name she doesn't know asked her.

"And what about me?" she asked back.

"What do you do for a living? Surely you have a job?"

"Of course I do sir!" Wendy exclaimed. "What do you think of me?"

"What is it then?" he asks again.

"I am a writer," said Wendy, puffing up her chest a little.

"A writer?" repeated the man, a mischievous grin forming on his face. "Such a very fitting job for you."

Wendy frowned, unable to make out what he means by it, and simply returned to her dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Darling threw each other glances full of meaning, but none of the others noticed, all of them occupied with their food.

After dinner their servant Liza, who works for them still, has tidied up the table and the whole family and their guests retired to the living room, where a piano for Mrs. Darling rests. Currently Mrs. Darling is playing and Mr. Darling and Mrs. Banning are dancing, with Mr. Banning and the others clapping merrily. When Mrs. Darling finished and Mr. Darling and Mrs. Banning have both returned to their seats, Mr. And Mrs. Banning's son requested for a story to be told by none other than Wendy, to which she granted, so she stood up in the middle and told everyone about a boy who could fly and a girl who went with him to a magical island. The man listens, all his attention on her, and grins a little cockily that Wendy was sure she's seen the grin somewhere, although she can't remember. When she got to the part of the kiss, the man interrupted her, and she was most displeased.

"So that thing round your neck, is that a kiss?" he asks her.

"Yes," she answered, a hand going to the acorn button dangling on the silver chain around her neck.

"Quite the ugly kiss that thing is then," the man said, slightly laughing. "I can give you a more beautiful necklace if you'd like. Throw that thing away."

Wendy was greatly offended and she glared at the man. How dare he say that Peter Pan's kiss is ugly? Who does he think he is?

"I'd rather die than get something from you, thank you very much." she told him scornfully.

"Too bad then," he shrugs, "I could've gotten you something made of gold."

Wendy continued with her story, deciding it was best to ignore the man, who was still continuing to grin cockily at her.

When she was finished, her audience clapped at her politely, all except the man who said, "Is that it? That's how it ended? It's not quite satisfying, don't you think? That Peter Pan is awfully heartless to leave the girl behind waiting for him til she grew old." Wendy clenched her fists at this but ignored him still. He continued.

"And he was awfully cocky. I think Peter Pan needs a beating, to teach him manners." The man looked up at her. "Wendy, the story is awfully dull. Could you rewrite it to be more exciting?"

Wendy could no longer bear being in the vicinity of this man so she stormed off, her mother standing up from the piano chair and calling out her name. The man shook his head a bit, chuckling, and made after her.

Wendy ended up going to her old nursery, crouching at the foot of her bed where she first saw Peter. Fat tears rolled off her eyes and she angrily wipes them off. That man just irritates her so.

"My fair lady," she heard a voice say, "why are you crying?" There was something in the way he said it that made her look for the source of the voice.

Wendy looked up to see the man who irritates her leaning down on her and she sees his eyes up close. They were a beautiful shade of blue, something she's seen such a long time ago. Her eyes trail down to a chain round his neck, and when he sees where she is looking at, the man gently tugs on the chain and pulls out what seems to be a thimble. The man stood up straight and went towards the window Peter Pan has opened so many years ago and leaned his back on it.

He stared at her, those familiar blue eyes piercing her, staring right into her soul. "You have told your story," he says, voice a lot softer than before. "Now shall I tell you mine?" Wendy gave the man in front of her a little nod of the head as she found herself unable to utter a word.

"A long time ago," he started, looking down at her and smiling. "I ran away when I heard my parents talking about what I must become when I grow up. I ended up in an island where fairies live together with the redskins and the pirates, an island where time stops so I can have all the fun I want. I had six subordinates I call the Lost Boys, who fell out of their perambulators when the nursemaids weren't looking, and they were called Slightly, Nibs, Curly, Tootles and Twins.

"One night I decided to come to the Mainland and just as I was passing through one window, I heard a mother telling her children a story about a girl with glass slippers. I've been coming back to that window ever since, listening to the stories. But then one night, just when I was about to go inside their nursery, their mother and nurse, a Newfoundland they called Nana, found me, and I jumped off the window but their dog shut it off, taking a piece of me.

"It was my shadow. I did come back looking for it when their parents were gone and that's when I met a girl who sewed it on for me and I took her with me to the Neverlands, together with her two brothers, John and Michael. There we had countless adventures but one night, she decided she must go back to the Mainland with her brothers. I was afraid to lose her, but I didn't show it, and sent a fairy friend of mine to lead them all back to the Mainland, the Lost Boys having decided to come with her.

"They were captured by pirates and I had to save them all, and we rode the ship back to the Mainlands. I went a little ahead of them, thinking that if they see their window closed, they would all come back with me to Neverland, but their mother pleaded with me with her eyes and I simply cannot do it. So they all came back and I was alone and I never saw them again."

Wendy was standing up at this point, an arm raised, reaching out for the man.

"But how-?"

"When I was sure she couldn't see me, I flew up to the heavens, thinking hard. I thought about how I could get her back and thought of only one solution: I must grow up. So I flew to where Mr. and Mrs. Banning lived and they gladly accepted me as their son, for they have none."

"So you decided to grow up in the end." she said, smiling, her face still smeared with tears. He nodded and stood up straight.

"Pardon me. I haven't introduced myself yet have I?" Wendy gave out a weak laugh and shook her head. He bowed, so much like how he first bowed to her all those years ago in the same room that Wendy felt the years melt away and she was but a girl again. She curtsied back, just like how she did back then.

"My name is Peter Banning. You may call me Peter Pan."

"And I am Wendy Moira Angela Darling."

"May I have this dance then, Miss Wendy Moira Angela Darling?" he said, stretching out an arm. Wendy gladly took it, her right hand going to his shoulder while his wraps around her waist.

"It's quite disappointing to know that I cannot fly anymore, isn't it? It's not like our dance back in Neverland."

"It is," she agreed. "But I'm more than happy already just to have another dance with you." She looked up at him and smiled at the man who was once called Peter Pan, and he couldn't resist it, he bent down and gave her a kiss, a real one, full on the mouth.

"At least you know what a kiss is now," Wendy said, laughing.

"Yes, and I also learned that thimble is not a verb. Oh the things you could learn at school!"

Their dance ended and the man leaned down on the woman's ear and whispered three words he never got to tell her back in the Neverland.

"I love you."

Needless to say, she said them too.

Outside, Mr. and Mrs. Darling, together with Mr. and Mrs. Banning and all eight of the boys, who followed Peter Pan and currently had their ears pressed against the wall of the old nursery, have big smiles on their faces. One by one they left, the boys for the first time in such a long while remembering the island of Neverland where they spent many moons. The older adults meanwhile, went back to the living room to get a cup of tea, Mrs. Darling giving Mr. Darling a gentle squeeze on the hand to express her giddiness.

 

Of course, this happened a long time ago. The kisses around their necks have been passed on to their children, who are so fond of their story that they themselves have memorized it better than their own parents. And when they grow up, they will pass it down to their children too and so it will continue, for even when the boy decided to grow up, his story shall remain to be immortal in the minds of children who believe.