disclaimer: peter pan © j. m. barrie.

— when the sun stops burning me inside
by breakable bird

Never try to trick me with a kiss
Pretending that the birds are here to stay;
The dying man will scoff and scorn at this.

sylvia plath.

Wendy smiles kindly and she leaves. Her face is soft and childish and Peter peeks through her window for many years, until her hair is snow-white and her skin is cracked porcelain and I still want to play with you, Wendy. She doesn't look, but sometimes she could almost swear he's—oh, the lonely lad.

She is the first but not the last. He comes back and tries to get Jane to stay with him and it's the same smile, the same look, the same pretty blond hair and young cheeks, her chest moving the same way, breathing and blinking, her long lashes fluttering, her heart steady and her hands touching him for the last time, after a sweet kiss—

—and "I'm sorry, Peter," Wendy says, and then Jane and Margareth and Juliet and Rose and Valentina and just why, why do they keep leaving? (We could play forever. We could could could, I can make time stop.)

(He chases after the same soul, again and again and again. Wendy leaves Neverland and leaves her home but she gives him a gift: a long lineage of golden skinned daughters and granddaughters, sun-blondes and half-smiling and I like your ageless spirit.

And one day (how many times has it been already, really? Peter forgets to count), when he looks at her face and hears the sweet voice and feels the tiny hand touching his, Peter thinks it's time. He doesn't remember her name, suddenly, and her lips are so close and her breath it's delightfully warm, hot—

Wendy he thinks he thinks he thinks and he says her name like a prayer Wendy Wendy Wendy. She smiles, bright and bubbly and motherly and already stepping into womanhood and he misses her so much, so much it hurts, so much it feels like breaking and drinking poison and thinking bad things.

She kisses him. (Wendy, he whispers, and she laughs because it is her soul, isn't it?) He gives first kisses every time.

(You make me want to swallow the sun to keep me warm when you start leaving, Wendy. You make me want to not grow up but walk on your shadow and steal your hidden kiss and—he's just a boy. Doesn't love, naturally.)

Wendy leaves because a child's love (silly mimic) is not enough and he follows because every day has a sunset, and she is golden enough to make up for the lack of sun.