I wanna be young the rest of my life
never say no - try anything twice
til the angels come and ask me to fly
I'm gonna be 18 til I die - 18 til I die
can't live forever that's wishful thinkin'
who ever said that must of bin' drinkin'
don't wanna grow up I don't see why
I couldn't care less if time flies by
(18 Til I Die, Brian Adams)
Frank put the tape into his battered VCR and sat on his bed, his head against the wall. The first minutes of the tape were blurred. Then he heard the familiar music that accompanied the intro of the movie. He watched his younger self jump through windows, fly and fight scary pirates and an enormous crocodile.
He could hardly remember making the film. There was blue screen work involved, he recalled. Lots of waiting too. Nothing glamorous. There had been a teacher on set, for him and his fellow child actors. The entire crew spoiled them. The sandwiches were delicious. He'd had a bit of a crush on the girl that played Tigerlily. She was bossy, and taller than him. He couldn't remember what exactly it was he'd liked about her.
Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. Yeah, right. He pushed the fast forward button on the remote and watched the accelerated film. He paused the tape at the end credits.
Francis McEwan. He'd always hated that name. Remembered how disappointed he'd been when he saw the credits for the first time. His parents didn't understand.
At school his classmates made fun of him and his name. "Fran-cis, kiss-kiss, Fran-cis, kiss-kiss."
One day he was invited to a birthday party, where Peter Pan was shown. He'd felt extremely uncomfortable. The children jeered at the opening credits and again at the end of the film. "Didn't know you had a twin brother, Frank." Someone joked. In the school playground the kids imitated birds with their arms. "Please fly for us, Fran-cis!"
It was Daniel who'd stood up for him. "Bugger off, you jealous eejits. Frank here's gonna make buckets of money and he'll be dead famous. Just you wait and see. And I'll be his agent. His extremely rich agent." He'd meant it, too.
Laurence didn't join in the teasing of Frank either. He couldn't hurt a fly, let alone the boy who lived next door. On their first school day Frank and Daniel had got into a fight, and were told off by Laurence. They had been friends ever since.
Frank stuck his tongue out at the quivering tape and finally pushed the eject button. The VCR spat out the dusty videotape and the screen became black. He wished he could do the same to his memories.