Wednesday, August 04, 2004

When Peter Met Wendy

Fortunately she knew at once what to do.

"It must be sewn on," she said, just a little patronisingly.
"What's sewn?" he asked.
"You're dreadfully ignorant."
"No, I'm not." But she was exulting in his ignorance.
"I shall sew it on for you, my little man," she said, though he was tall as herself, and she got out her housewife [sewing bag], and sewed the shadow on to Peter's foot.
"I daresay it will hurt a little," she warned him.
"Oh, I shan't cry," said Peter, who was already of the opinion that he had never cried in his life. And he clenched his teeth and did not cry, and soon his shadow was behaving properly, though still a little creased.
"Perhaps I should have ironed it," Wendy said thoughtfully, but Peter, boylike, was indifferent to appearances, and he was now jumping about in the wildest glee. Alas, he had already forgotten that he owed his bliss to Wendy. He thought he had attached the shadow himself.
"How clever I am!" he crowed rapturously,"oh, the cleverness of me!" It is humiliating to have to confess that this conceit of Peter was one of his most fascinating qualities. To put it with brutal frankness, there never was a cockier boy. But for the moment Wendy was shocked.
"You conceit [braggart]," she exclaimed, with frightful sarcasm;"of course I did nothing!"
"You did a little," Peter said carelessly, and continued to dance.
"A little!" she replied with hauteur [pride]; "if I am no use I can at least withdraw," and she sprang in the most dignified way into bed and covered her face with the blankets. To induce her to look up he pretended to be going away, and when this failed he sat on the end of the bed and tapped her gently with his foot.
"Wendy," he said, "don't withdraw. I can't help crowing, Wendy, when I'm pleased with myself." Still she would not look up, though she was listening eagerly.
"Wendy," he continued, in a voice that no woman has ever yet been able to resist,
"Wendy, one girl is more use than twenty boys." Now Wendy was every inch a woman, though there were not very many inches, and she peeped out of the bed-clothes.
"Do you really think so, Peter?"
", I do." "I think it's perfectly sweet of you," she declared, "and I'll get up again," and she sat with him on the side of the bed. She also said she would give him a kiss if he liked, but Peter did not know what she meant, and he held out his hand expectantly.
"Surely you know what a kiss is?" she asked, aghast.
"I shall know when you give it to me," he replied stiffly, and not to hurt his feeling she gave him a thimble.
"Now," said he, "shall I give you a kiss?" and she replied with a slight primness,
"If you please." She made herself rather cheap by inclining her face toward him, but he merely dropped an acorn button into her hand, so she slowly returned her face to where it had been before, and said nicely that she would wear his kiss on the chain around her neck. It was lucky that she did put it on that chain, for it was afterwards to save her life. (From the third chapter of "The Adventures of Peter Pan")

- - -

At this point in the story, I would assume that Peter and Wendy have already looked into each other's eyes...and saw what even the most seasoned and professional fortune tellers could even fail to see sometime...narcissus and the river gazing at each other, seeing themselves reflected like a deck of cards shuffled accordion-like on a table covered with red cloth. Finding their counterpart...their equal, to drown in it, if only for the briefest moment in the liquid pools that stares back at them. It's not easy finding our other half, is it? The person who could complete ourselves like Romeo to Juliet whose tragic union united warring clans or Abelard and Heloise whose affair caused the former's castration and the latter being sent off to the cloister where they would spend the rest of their wretched lives loving each in utter silence for fear of God's punishment. Isn't this the most delusions of all delusions? That we needed someone to complete us. The need to complete the pattern wholeness and integration. But people don't complete us. We complete ourselves because if we do not, then the quest for love becomes the quest for self-annihilation; and then we try convince ourselves that self-destruction is love, which is a lot like mistaking dependency for love.

So what did Wendy do? In order to keep Peter, didn't she gave him up, got married and had kids of her own?

Her brief interlude with Peter (which seemed like forever suspended in heady clarity during that time) passed in time. And it always does, unfortunately. The fresh bruises of a broken heart would feel tender at first; pain would rack it even during the gentlest of touches that one might never let anyone near it again. But eventually, the angry purple bruise would become reddish, then it would yellow like the colors of the rainbow transforming it back to the color it began, and with it, the ache subsides. Then we forget about it. Sometimes, we'd even forget that we ever had hearts; that it is still there in the deepest recess of our body, beating. Until the next time we fall in love, that is. And when we fall in love again, we wondered how we could've forgotten it and then we would realize, that maybe this time, our hearts are stronger, better because we cannot fully remember the time before.

What had love had ever done for us but disappoint us? Or is it the other way around by looking for it in the wrong persons at the right time and vice versa.

Sometimes, we want to lose ourselves to this one person, that for a glimmer of moment we cease to be ourselves. That we be transported to heaven on borrowed wings. Only the tic-toc of a clock stuck in an alligator's belly would ever remind you that time exists. But borrowed wings can also melt like Icarus' plunging to his death in the sea surrounding the island of Crete.

I guess Wendy would just have to grow her own wings.

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