Peter never really grew up. He didn't want to be an adult. It sounded boring and lonely. In middle school, he played by himself in the gym, using his imagination. He loved it even more when they got to go outside. It meant he could let his imagination go even farther.
They accepted it somewhat in middle school. But in high school, it got worse.
He stayed by himself, never talking to anyone. His teachers told his grandmother that he was ADHD and needed medicine to control it. Of course, Grandma never made him take them.
"Never let anyone tell you what to do, Peter, or how to act. You are perfect the way you are." Then she would kiss his head and he would run outside to play. While other kids focused on their school work, Peter worked in the community. Working with children, of course. Every day after school, he went to the hospital and played with the kids who were terminally ill.
One day, as he walked in, the matronly nurse's smile greeted him, filling him with warmth. "Those kids have been waiting all day for you."
"Really?" His face lit up at the thought.
"All day, they asked "Is Peter Pan coming?" Drove the nurses nuts, trying to tell them to be patient."
"Why Peter Pan?"
"I have no idea. But it's their favourite thing, to watch a grown-up be so silly."
"But I'm not a grown up." The nurse smiled and told him to hurry on, lest they have a riot in the children's ward.
Peter ran upstairs, towards the children, donning a green, pointed hat with a red feather as he went. They had deemed him fighter of pirates and protector of the lost ones. Lilli, a small girl of five, had told him he could not hold such a title without a hat.
He arrived in the ward, leaping through the door, posing with his legs apart, hands on his hips, staring off into space, arising giggles out of the kids around him.
"Peter!" they all cried, the ones able to walk running to him, the ones in wheel chairs being pushed by friends or nurses.
"How are my lost girls and boys?" Peter listened to them tell him about which kids are better and get to go home and which ones haven't changed and which ones are worse. That's when Peter noticed that one little girl was missing.
"Over here, Peter," a weak voice said as a friend rolled her wheelchair forward. Yesterday, she'd been one of the ones running to him, standing beside him dutifully, attitude and all. Her pixie-like face always had a smile for him. Her yellow-blonde hair had recently started to grow back from chemo and was shaggy, and always in a bun.
"What's wrong, Tink?" He knelt in front of the little girl, frowning.
"Doc says I've gotten worse." And the doctor was right. Her usual glow was waning, her skin a pale colour.
"Well then. We'll just have to make sure you get better, right?" Peter stood and faced the gaggle of children who were standing behind him, waiting for their next adventure to begin.
"Tink's not doing so well. So I'm asking you guys, my lost boys and girls, to help Tink. All you gotta do is believe. Believe that Tink will get better. Clap if you believe she will and can get better." A furious, scattered applause broke out from everyone standing in the room. The noise brought other nurses, who smiled as they saw Peter and went back to their stations, knowing the children were okay. Peter beamed at the children and asked them what their troubles were that day. And they started off on their adventure, Tink being wheeled around by Peter while they played.
When it was time for Peter to go home, the children were worn out and happy to see their friend once again. He slipped out as they were shooed into their beds for their nightly routines.
He stood in the elevator, looking down at his favourite outfit. He wore dark green skinny jeans (his favourite kind of jeans) and a green V-neck shirt with a collar. The edges were slightly weathered looking, frayed and torn. He adjusted his wooden dagger sheath on his hips. His moccasin encased feet tapped a rhythm on the floor as he waited for it to reach the lobby. Peter adjusted his hat as the elevator stopped on the 4th floor. He adjusted his green hat as a girl joined him on the lift.
"Hello," Peter said, his impish face grinning at her.
"Hi," she replied, turning to look at him.
"I'm Peter Pan."
"So. You're the legendary Peter everyone talks about."
"People talk about me?" His grin widened, lighting up his whole face. "Who are you, then?"
"I'm Wendy Darling." Pan turned to take in her appearance. Short, mink curls shaped a sweet, round face with bright blue eyes staring at the doors. Pink full lips were curved into a secretive smile. Her tight shirt was a light blue-ish colour and was tucked into a short, baby blue skirt that covered black mesh tights. Wendy's mink coloured hair was held back by a black and blue bow that kept her hair off her face. Peter nodded in approval, smiling at her.
"Nice to meet you, Wendy." The girl did not respond verbally, but nodded at him, a small smile glancing across her pink lips.
"How old are you, Peter?" she asked when the silence became unbearable.
"That's not important," he answered as he rocked on his heels, whistling his favourite tune, something he'd made up as a kid.
"And why not?"
"Because I'm never gonna grow up," Peter told her, as if it were obvious.
"But you have to eventually, Peter."
"Not if I don't want to. The kids and I are going to Neverland, where we will never be sick or die or age."
"That's a silly."
"Well so are you." Peter's face scrunched as he laughed at himself. Wendy, on the other hand, looked offended. They reached the second floor and she stomped off.
"Goodbye, Peter," she said curtly, not looking over her shoulder as the doors closed.
"Goodbye Wendy!" he yelled after her, still giggling.
As Peter walked home, he thought about the Wendy girl. He'd liked her. She was feisty and would be wonderful with the lost children. Peter made a reminder to find her later and ask her if she would join him and the lost children on their trip to Neverland.