A Fairy's Last Breath
There. Did you here me?
And then I'm gone. But if you look closely enough, you can just see me. Over there, half-camouflaged by the soft glow of the nightlight. From where I stand, I can see the drawer where he trapped his shadow. Or was it the Wendy-girl who kept it safe for him? Oh, how I hated her.
But she does not sleep here any more. Nor does her womanly shape bend over her children to see that they, too, sleep safely. Safe from all the dangers of the cruel, cold world that lies ready to claim their innocence at that special age when children start to grow up. And it will happen, for sooner or later, all children grow up….
Oh, how ardently I wait here in the semi-darkness. But my heart tells me he will not come anymore. My beloved Peter has finally grown up.
The family that now resides here, where the Darlings used to reside, are strangers to me. All their little girls and boys are strangers as well. I cannot feel them; I cannot even touch them. It used to be that all fairies could play with children, because only children believed. But these do not. They are strange creatures, hunched always over their toys full of blinking lights and whirring noises and moving inanimate objects. Things I have never seen before.
I feel myself dying.
It has come to me clearly now. Let me languish here waiting for a lover who will not appear, here in the mild heat of a midsummer night. Let my light go out, for my light has no purpose any longer. These pale-faced mechanical munchkins do not, I think, need fairies. Then again, perhaps they need them more than ever.
The only window that still shines for me is 308 down on Eleventh Street, where Peter and his wife now stay. They have a girl – sweet young thing with mischief in her eyes, and a boy, a slender, strong one who inherited his father's wiry frame. It breaks my heart to think of it: Peter Pan, a father. That could only mean he is a husband as well. It surprised me a little to learn that he wed not Wendy, but her granddaughter whose name I do not know. How tall he has grown! What are those tiny lines just starting to form at the corners of his eyes? And is that the beginnings of a beard on his chin? Oh Peter, to think that your greatest fear was to wake and find a beard on your face!
The living room is well-lit; there are stockings at the fireside. All of them are full of lighthearted cheer, and now Peter and his wife are dancing gaily while the little ones bound about like wild deer. They are different, his children. They are not like others because they have perhaps inherited some of his magic. They are Peter Pan's children.
Pan. A name once loved by some and feared by others, in a land far, far away….
I was always awake before him. Even when his eyes were open he would not rise, but merely swing lazily in his hammock playing his pipes (I think he still has them). About him a hundred multicoloured pinpricks of light dance above his head. They are the other fairies, most of whom loved only to tease him and pinch his nose and prod him in the ribs if he is lying on them. I was no different from them, only that I loved him. With all my tiny soul. Little fairies like us, by nature, are not big enough to contain a number of emotions at once. If we are happy, we are filled to the brim with ecstasy. If we are sad we wander in the deepest abyss of misery, and it is entirely possible for one to die from grief alone. Unlike our bigger cousins in other parts of the world – the Fair Folk, or Faerie, who are not only beautiful but wise, and kind – we pixies are capable of pure viciousness. And that is my only excuse for leading the Wendy-girl to her narrow death: that my tiny body was filled with envy that she should attempt to steal my paramour from me. Yet the "Wendy-lady" as the Lost Boys called her was most merciful to me, which only deepened my hatred. When I was angriest I would seek respite in my boudoir. Perhaps you have heard descriptions of it. I am sure nothing comes close to what it actually looks like. And just now even I cannot fully recall its exquisite beauty; my heart is filled with black misery.
They say that just as a woman can love deeper than a man, so can she hate deeper. I looked like a girl carved of translucent ivory and skeleton leaves, and my glassy wings true enough mark me as a fairy, no taller than your thumb. But inside I am all woman. Or so I have always felt. Is it a curse? To have a heart big enough to accommodate a flesh-and-blood boy, big enough even to accommodate the man he has become…but an eternally frail pixie's body? At times my ribs could crack from the love I harbour for a wild, cocky, strangely dashing thing whom I thought would never be able to feel the love that a man can feel for a woman. I knew years after that I was mistaken. I knew it when one day I saw him plant something on Wendy's lips, something at once soft and eager and shy, and call it not a thimble, but a kiss. A real kiss.
It marked his first coming of age.
He had stolen many kisses before, but none like this one. He called them kinkajinks and thingabobs, inkles and titches, any name you can think of. Peter could have up to fifty names for a single object. This was because of his forgetful nature, and he is forgetful because he is made of dewdrops and bubbles and rainbows, all of which live short lives. When he finally learnt the real name for a kiss, however, he forgot it never.
With the first kiss, she was his. With the second, he was hers. And after that my fairy heart lost hope and fluttered away like a dead leaf, leaving me empty.
Now I lie here where no fairy can hear my call, where no small hands will clap for me so I can live again. I think I have finally forgiven Wendy. I even forgive Peter for growing up.
Goodbye, Peter. I pray that someday children will believe in fairies again. It is too late for me.
I wish my heart could go on beating for you….