Faith, Trust, And Pixie Dust
The bathroom door was crashing and shaking on its hinges, the flimsy lock just barely holding back the intruder, leaving Faith staggering backwards and away from it. Her back slammed into the wall, narrowly missing the sink, and with tears in her eyes she slid down the smooth tiles and onto the floor, crumpling like a sack of potatoes.
"Faith, open the door!"
The voice sounded frantic, and Faith shook her head, her hands reaching up to cover her ears. She couldn't deal with this right now, not on top of everything else.
"Faith, come on. Just let me talk to you."
She wanted him to go away – to go far away where she'd never have to see him again. The image of him with that other girl, in her bed, was burned into her mind like a brand, and it made her want to vomit. How could he do that to her? She couldn't understand it. Her ribs were still bruised from the car crash that had claimed her mother's life just last week, and when she had finally been allowed to return home to her loving and wonderful boyfriend, she had walked in on that.
The voice was less desperate now, but still she wouldn't respond to it. Faith didn't want to; she wanted to block everything out – all of the hurt, and all of the pain. She wanted it all to go away, and to be back in a happier time before her mother had died and her whole world had shattered.
Crawling forward, Faith spread herself out on the bathroom floor, and pressed her hot and tear-stained cheek against the cool tiles. Closing her eyes, she blocked out the pounding at the door, and just wished that it would all go away.
A mental breakdown.
It sounds so easy to say, and Faith could remember many times during high school where she'd joked with her friends that the stress of exams was going to cause her to have a mental breakdown. But thinking back on that day in her bathroom, she now knew that it was no joking matter. The time between her lying down on the bathroom floor and waking up in a strange room where nurses were fussing over her was just a blur. She honestly had no memory of what had happened to her. It was only after her father had told her that she had known the details.
Her boyfriend of five years, Joshua Dean, had called her father, and together they had broken down the bathroom door. They had found her lying on the tiles, staring into space and unresponsive, yet when they had tried to move her, she had lashed out at them. Faith didn't remember attacking them, but her hands were scratched and sore, and there were dark bruises around her arms where she had been restrained. They had called for an ambulance, and she had been given a sedative and placed in a monitored room away from the other patients. They wanted to keep her in for observation. Her father had left her, and Faith had been alone ever since.
That was four days ago.
"How are you feeling today, Faith?" the smooth voice of Doctor Greenfield said as the door to her room opened. The doctor was in his late thirties with neat sandy hair, and friendly brown eyes that were hidden behind modest glasses. His white coat was adored with pens in his front pocket, and a little smiley face button on his collar. He was easy to talk to, and what Faith particularly liked was the fact that he didn't speak to her as if she were a child, or like she had completely lost her mind.
"I'm feeling a bit better today," Faith replied, and Doctor Greenfield smiled at her before he sat down on the side of her bed. That was the other thing that she liked – he didn't stand and talk over people, but chose to put himself on the same level as the person that he was talking to.
"That's good to hear," the doctor said. "How would you feel about going home?" he asked, and a stab of fear shot through her as Faith felt her chest constrict with anxiety.
"Home?" she squeaked, her fingers twisting around in her blanket. "I don't really want- Do you think I should?" she stammered, and the doctor smiled at her again.
"I think that you should do whatever you think that you are ready to do," he replied, and Faith nodded.
"I need some time to think about it," she said, and the doctor nodded as he stood up.
"Take all the time you need," he said before he left her alone to think.
After the accident that was all that she had wanted to do. She had suffered only minor injuries in the crash that had killed her mother, the most serious of which were cracked and bruised ribs from where her seatbelt had pulled against her so tight that she had felt like her lungs were being crushed. Her ribs were healing quite well, and there was no physical reason why she should stay in the hospital, and yet this time around Faith did not want to go home. She couldn't go back to that apartment where her boyfriend had cheated on her, and she couldn't stay with her father either. He was even more of a mess than she, only he was too proud to show it. Faith needed a time out from her life, and a nice medical facility seemed like a perfectly good option to her.
Faith was just settling back down into her bed when her door quickly opened just enough to allow someone to slip through, and then it was closed again as quietly as possible. Faith sat up as the intruder crouched down on the floor, as if he were trying to hide from someone that was lurking outside of the room. He looked to be only slightly older than she was, putting him somewhere in his early twenties. His hair was the colour of golden straw, and was wild and messy, as if it could never be tamed. He was wearing the powder blue pants and plain white shirt that all of the patients wore, and his feet were bare on the clean tiles of the floor.
"Umm, what are you doing?" Faith asked, and the young man turned around to face her, beaming with the most mischievous smile that she had ever seen. That smile said that he was up to something, and that he was delighting in the fact that you didn't know what it was. His eyes were a pale blue and seemed to sparkle under the fluorescent lights, and now that Faith could see his face, he was quite handsome.
"I'm hiding from Nurse Rutledge," he replied, sitting down on the floor with his back leaning against the wall. "I'm supposed to be in the day room with everyone else, but I got bored," he added with a shrug. "She's used to me sneaking off, but eventually she'll come looking."
"Right," Faith said with a slow nod of her head, reminding herself that she was in a place that was full of, for lack of a better term, crazy people. "So, what are you in for?" she asked, and the young man shrugged.
"I've got nowhere else to go, and the doctors here all think that I'm delusional or something, so they let me stay," he replied. "But you're new here, aren't you?" he asked with a curious tilt of his head.
Faith nodded. "My name is Faith," she said, and the young man smiled up at her.
"I'm Peter Mackenzie. At least, that's what the doctors and the nurses call me."
"So that's not your real name?" Faith asked, slightly confused. The young man shook his head.
"Well, the Peter part is right. But my full name is actually Peter Pan," he said with a smirk, and Faith blinked at him for a long moment, not sure as to how she should react to this news. "Oh, don't worry, no one ever believes me," Peter added quickly, seeing her uncertainty. "That's why Doctor Greenfield thinks that I'm delusional. Apparently I'm somewhat of a fairy tale in this world now," he said with obvious pride.
"Right," Faith said, and then decided to just go with it. She was having a time out from the real world, after all. Why shouldn't she get to know Peter Pan whilst enjoying her break?
"You're a lot older than I thought you'd be," she said, and Peter scowled.
"That's what happens when you get kicked out of Neverland, and have to spend ten whole years in this world. You grow up," Peter said bitterly, hugging his knees to his chest. Despite his apparent age, he still acted a lot like a small boy.
"How did you get kicked out of Neverland?" Faith asked, genuinely curious to hear what story he had cooked up for himself. Her mother used to tell her the story of Peter Pan when she was very little, and Faith had heard every tale, including some that she was fairly certain that her mother had made up. She used to consider herself an expert on Neverland as a child, and she was curious to hear someone else's take on her favourite story.
"It was Captain Hook," Peter began. "He finally found a way to out-smart me. He enlisted the help of some dark fairies, and he used their dark pixie dust to counteract Tinker Bell's light pixie dust. Tink wasn't with me at the time, so when the dark dust expelled me from Neverland, I couldn't fly back. You see, Tinker Bell's dust is made from goodness and hope, just like Neverland is, but the dark dust is made from wickedness and lies, and when it settled over me, it was like Neverland itself pushed me away. I had no choice but to fly here with the last of my power, before Tink's dust vanished completely, and I was trapped. Tinker Bell hasn't come for me either, so I can only guess that Hook has her. Without her, I'm stuck," he finished with a resigned shrug, and Faith didn't know what to say. It was a good story, and yet that's all it was – just a story cooked up by a lonely boy.
"Hey, how about I show you around this place?" Peter said, perking right up again. "Nurse Rutledge is bound to come looking for me soon, and once she knows where I am, she's usually fine with me wandering around," he said as he climbed to his feet. Faith bit her lip, unsure if she should go with him or not. But then again, what was the harm? She was in a place that had security doors and guards patrolling the floors. Even if she should find herself in trouble, help wouldn't be too far away.
"Okay sure, why not? Lead the way, Peter Pan," she said with a smile, slipping out of bed and following after the handsome young man that was grinning back at her like a twelve year old boy that was about to go and attack some pirates.
Saint Michael's Hospital in Paddington was walking distance away from Hyde Park, although you wouldn't think so by looking out of the windows. Everywhere Faith looked, all she could see was the bustling chaos of London, however Peter was happy to point out that, if you were to head outside and walk straight, you would reach Hyde Park in less than ten minutes. She had to take his word for it though, as guards stood by the exits, patiently shooing away anyone that got too close.
The wing of the hospital that they were in was designated as a long-term care wing. The residents that wandered passed Faith and Peter were all people that their own families, for whatever reason, couldn't care for, and who needed the extra care and resources that the hospital provided. Faith saw a lady with a curtain of hair that covered most of her face shuffling along in bunny slippers; a middle-aged man with a grin like a child, holding a toy bear, and lifting its paw to wave at them; a lady closer to Faith's age was slowly rocking herself in a corner, staring at nothing in particular; and a group of five men and woman were sitting around a table playing with a deck of cards. Faith watched them for a moment, trying to work out what game they were playing, and yet the best that she could guess was that it was some kind of mix of Snap and Go Fish.
"There's a garden out that way," Peter said, pointing towards a set of open glass doors that led out to a small yard. Intrigued by the small glimpse of the outside world, Faith headed towards it, and stepped out into the fresh autumn air. The wind had a bite to it, and Faith felt herself shiver in her light hospital clothes. She wrapped her arms around herself as her brown eyes took in the high wall that fenced in the tiny patch of green that was the garden. The walls had to have easily been ten feet high, with one wall running parallel to the doors that Faith had stepped through, perhaps fifteen to twenty metres away. The other two walls angled back towards the edge of the hospital forming a space that was shaped like a trapezium. There were paving stones in the grass that led towards a timber bench that sat against one wall, weathered and grey with age. The wall opposite the bench had a sea of flowers at its base – vibrant reds and yellows and blues. Flowers of all kinds were growing peacefully in a little garden bed that, even now, one of the patients was tending to. She was an older lady with a hunched back and wrinkled hands, and yet she was on her knees with a little trowel, digging out a hole for a new plant to be lovingly placed into. Faith watched her pat the earth around the new plant, and then she sat back on her haunches and surveyed her work, a little smile on her old face.
"That's Sally-Ann," Peter said with a soft smile for the old woman. "She doesn't always remember who she is, but she loves her garden. She once told me that she used to grow award-winning flowers for the Chelsea Flower Show," he added, and Faith looked from him to the old woman who was now pulling out weeds from another section of the garden.
"She looks after all of this herself?" she asked, and Peter shrugged.
"We all help out with it, but Sally-Ann does the most work. She's always out here, until Nurse Martins takes her back inside at the end of the day," he replied, nodding towards a nurse that was sitting just inside of the doors, a watchful eye on the elderly lady.
"It all seems so peaceful here," Faith said, and Peter cocked his head at her.
"Were you expecting a riot?" he asked, and Faith laughed softly.
"No, but this is a place for-" She hesitated before saying what she had been planning on saying, and yet Peter seemed to have read her mind.
"Crazy people?" he said, leaning closer and speaking to Faith as if they were conspiring together. Faith felt her face flush with embarrassment, remembering that she was talking to a man that believed that he was Peter Pan.
"I didn't mean it like that," she said, but Peter merely laughed.
"I'll tell you a secret," he said, his face still so close to hers that Faith could see a smattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose. "We're all mad here," he said with a grin, before he headed back inside. Faith stood for a moment, watching his broad back and the way that he held himself with so much confidence. With a shake of her head, she followed after him.
"Ah, Peter. I see you've taken it upon yourself to show Faith around," a voice said as Faith stepped back inside.
"Doctor Greenfield," she said in greeting, smiling at the doctor. He gave her a nod in return, before his eyes flicked back towards Peter.
"I hope you haven't been running her ragged. Faith is still recovering from a major accident," the doctor said to Peter in the same tone of voice that her father used to use on her when she was being lectured. Peter certainly looked like a child that was being lectured by his father, in the way that he was staring down at his toes and shifting on his feet.
"I've just been showing her around," he replied, finally lifting his eyes up to look at the doctor.
"Well, as long as you haven't been dragging her from pillar to post," he said, and Peter shook his head.
"He's been a very good guide, actually," Faith said, coming to Peter's defence, and the young man gave her a grateful look.
"Well, that's good. Peter can be a tad boisterous at times, and doesn't always know when to slow down," Doctor Greenfield said, and Peter was scowling at his bare feet. "I was actually looking for you, Faith. We received a phone call today from a young man named Joshua Dean, asking after you. Since he's not family, I couldn't tell him much, but he was asking if he could visit you."
Faith felt a shot of adrenalin jab through her body, like a sudden hot poker stabbing her. "What did you tell him?" she asked, trying to keep her voice steady.
"I told him that you weren't up for visitors yet."
"Good," Faith said in reply, and then turned around and walked back out into the garden. She made straight for the old timber bench, and sitting down hard, she heard the slats groan underneath her weight. Her heart was thundering in her chest, and her breaths were coming in short sharp little gasps that were leaving her feeling dizzy. She couldn't seem to get enough air in, and she couldn't stop her hands from trembling. Her fingers were curled around the seat of the bench, gripping the timber with her elbows locked, holding her upper body up as her brown hair fell around her face. She squeezed her eyes shut, telling herself to calm down and to just breathe, and she didn't even notice when Peter sat down next to her.
"There was a place in Neverland that I used to love," he said, his voice soft and gentle. "It was at the very top of the largest mountain. There was a rock that stuck out like a plank off of a ship, and if I sat on the end of it, I could see the whole island. In one direction I could see the smoke from the Indian camp, and in another was the mermaid cove. The pirates were anchored off of the coast, and my hideout was hidden in the trees below. The whole island was there, spread out below me, and it always made me feel peaceful looking at it. I was so high up and removed from everything. Nothing could bother me, until I came back down," he said, and despite her previous panic, Faith found her heart slowing down, and her breathing easier. She opened her eyes and looked at the young man sitting next to her, so like a boy one minute, and more like an old man that had lost everything the next.
"How did you ever come back down?" she finally asked, and Peter smiled at her.
"You don't have any fun if you stay above everything all of the time," he said, and Faith chuckled.
"Right now I wish that I had your mountain," she said, and Peter put his hand over hers on the bench – a tiny gesture of solidarity.