preserve your memories

A long time ago, rose_sous_globe asked for: "Peter Pan when he discovers that Wendy has grown old, and opts to take her daughter Jane to do his spring cleaning. Unless that would be too depressing, in which case you could write about his love of flying."

This isn't really either, but it's something. Is probably depressing, but for a different reason.


Flying is flying is flying. Flying is. Jane, who wobbles and has trouble just getting from there to here, asks him about this one night, after telling the boys about Peter’s fight with Hook on Skull Rock. Peter doesn’t remember any of it, but it’s a good story. All the stories about Peter are.

When the story’s done, Peter saved by a silly bird (that part can’t be right, but Jane refuses to change it) and floating back to safety, Wendy, and the boys, Jane and Peter sit and pretend. Peter’s reading leaves like newspapers, tracing the pale green veins with one finger. Jane is sewing pockets. It will be nice to have pockets again—Peter’s all ripped out some time ago. He doesn’t remember when.

“Why couldn’t you fly away?” Jane says, sewing with the careful slowness of someone who’s determined not to have to redo it later.

Peter doesn’t answer. He pretends it’s because he’s paying too much attention to the leaf and doesn’t hear her, but really it’s because he doesn’t know the answer.

“Peter,” Jane tries again, putting down her sewing. “Why would being stabbed in the shoulder keep you from flying away?”

Jane asks such an awful lot of questions, but she tells stories about Peter and makes pockets and does spring cleaning, so it’s all right. (Peter can’t remember if Wendy asked so many questions, but he thinks she didn’t.) Peter knows the answer to this question, so he drops the leaf onto the floor with the others.

“Because it hurts too much,” he says. To fly, you have to bend everything around you so you’re in the air instead of on the ground; too much distraction, and the world goes back the way it was and you wind up face-down in the dirt. Everyone thinks it’s the fairy dust that lets you fly, but it isn’t. “Besides, the story would be boring if I could just fly away when I wanted.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Jane says doubtfully, and resumes sewing. But she keeps looking over at Peter. Peter pretends he has a pipe, and blows invisible smoke rings. “Can I see it?” Jane blurts out after she finishes the pocket. “The scar?”

“What scar?” Peter forgets about his pipe and stands up, stepping on the leaves he’d been reading earlier.

“Where Captain Hook stabbed you.” Jane stands too, reaching out toward Peter as she does. Peter jumps away from her.

“Don’t touch me!”

“No, I won’t,” Jane says, pulling her hand away. “I just wanted to see.”

“Well, you can’t. It’s much too horrid for a girl to look at.” Peter says this just to keep Jane from asking again, but it might be true. It ought to be; the story’s better if it is.

Jane makes a sound as if she wants to disagree, but goes back to her sewing after Peter frowns at her. She doesn’t say anything else that evening except “goodnight”. Peter repeats it back to her absently, fingers tangled in what’s slowly becoming a nest made of string. He doesn’t look up when she leaves the room.

In the morning, Jane asks for his shirt so she can sew his pockets back in, and he takes it off without a second thought. She stares at his left shoulder for some reason, but when he looks at it himself, he can’t see anything interesting—just pale skin and a couple of freckles.

Jane’s a girl, though, and girls are weird (even Wendy was, he thinks) so he just shrugs and takes the boys to play in the tide pools.
This is sad. He lives but forgets his experiences. forever a young boy.
I've always thought that the ending of Peter Pan is one of the most depressing that I've read, right up there with Sherlock Holmes's (apparent) death. But it's worse, somehow, because Peter's trapped in the now and can't ever escape--and he did it to himself.

Such an odd book.
Wow, you've really captured the tragic essence of Peter Pan. Somehow it's utterly believable that Peter can't remember his own life, but can remember Wendy. I don't find this depressing, though, just...well, that's how Faerie works, you know? His state is foriegn to Jane, but not to him.
I guess what sort of horrifies me about Peter Pan (now that I'm old enough to actually understand) is that there is no growth, no change. All that matters to him is the now, and his own self, his own story. It seems like a terribly empty, lonely way to live.

it's utterly believable that Peter can't remember his own life, but can remember Wendy.

The thing is, he doesn't really remember her, either. He remembers the idea of her, that there was a girl named Wendy, but almost all the details are gone. And not even his own body remembers--this might be a little too subtle, but the point at the end is that he doesn't even have scars from his various adventures.

I am quite amused by your icon, btw. Angst indeed, although it's entirely on the part of the readers. ^_^
^^ Yay, my first icon compliment!! I got tired of having the ugliest avvie on LJ, so I'm trying to make a new one every few days.

this might be a little too subtle, but the point at the end is that he doesn't even have scars from his various adventures

No, no, no! Not too subtle at all, but just right--I did indeed get exactly that point, that the past is not really a part of his makeup, to the extent that even his body exists entirely in the "now". ...I wonder if, after enough of this, Jane might even begin to question the stories, and her mother's memories, or her own...hmm....