allodynia ('a - le'di - ne' - a)
Painful response to a stimulus that does not usually result in pain

There is a story. It is quite possibly the saddest story you have ever heard.

In that story, there is a boy. He is quite possibly the saddest boy you will ever know, though he doesn't know it.

There is a girl, as well. She is quite possibly the saddest girl you will ever know, though she does know it, and her heart shatters constantly with that knowledge.

You see, in that sad, sad story, a lively girl tastes the impossible - she loves the impossible.

And the impossible boy tastes life, and he refuses it.

He runs from life - it IS his life, that running, that flying. Now. Now, though, he knows what he is flying from, only he shoves that memory to the very back of his mind and lashes it in chains and has a moat with sharpened stakes so that it can never, ever get out, and he knows it never will - swears on a thimble - because Neverland is his.

And it never does.

And the girl - who is not a woman, not yet - well, her heart. You know. It shatters into a thousand sharp, tiny fragments, only to mend and break again immediately. Her heart is like opposing magnets; it cannot seem to stay together for more than a second.

--Every time she sees acorns - every time she sees an red feather - every time she sees a Western show playing in a store window - every time she sees that mirror the fairy used - a mermaid figurine in a curio shop - an eye patch - a thimble - every time, every time, EVERY TIME!--

And it is so painful, so very painful.

The boy doesn't come to her anymore. In the dead of the night, she lies awake, waiting-waiting-waiting. He came for a while even after her trip to Neverland, but then he gave her a thimble, and - well.

She never sleeps anymore.

She is always awake to watch the sun rise, but she hates sunrise because that means that another night has passed and he has not come.

She turns to the dusk, instead. The sun sets, and that is all that matters to her.

He will come again. She knows it. He is just not very good with time...

But he never does.

She becomes used to the pain. It still hurts just as much, but - well. She is used to it.

She avoids oak trees as much as possible, a simple thing in London. She can't do anything about the feathers, but she never goes to see the films with her little brothers.

--They think it was all a dream, and she wishes it was.--

She finds she cannot sleep even when she tries.

She gives the mirror to her mother.

As she grows up, grows older --something he ran from, flew from, would never, ever do-- and marries, her heart still breaksbreaksbreaks. She marries, but it still breaksbreaksbreaks.

Her son is never allowed to play Cowboys and Indians, or Pirates. He is never allowed to have a sling-shot. He is a wild boy, but he loves her and so listens to her, and her heart still breaksbreaksbreaks.

She tells him stories.

-What's a mother?-

-Will you be our mother?-

She finds herself sitting on the windowsill and staring at the moon long after her family has gone to bed. She always feels a twinge of hate for the sun when it rises.

She knows that she has never stopped waiting, and she never shall.

She knows that she left her heart behind in Neverland, and the Lost Boys play catch games with it, though their leader always wins. It gets dropped a lot; she can feel it. It breaksbreaksbreaks.

She is the saddest woman you will ever know.

And the boy --still a boy-- never comes.