I’ve always been taken by the story of Peter Pan, the little boy who never grew up. I fell for it completely in my last few weeks of school when, tail-gated by the recent death of a friend, my 6th form friends and I worked on and performed the musical as our leaving finale. I was (one of) the directors and I have to say, it was a rather fabulous show. The story of the cheeky, adventurous boy who never grew up seemed enormously appropriate in those rather over-bright and last days. It felt as if we were living in an artificially coloured film, the colours painted brighter, the movements slightly jerky and faintly out of sync. Like those pieces of unexpectedly coloured pre-war footage of people having fun at Butlins, waving and smiling and seeming quite fake. I can still sing pretty much every song from those two weeks, even though I left my photos at the cast party and never had it on video.
Peter Pan has been Maddy’s favourite film and she and Fran loved to listen to it at night; almost every incarnation of the story has popped up in our house at some point. I still love it, though the boy who never grew up, the lost boys and the directions to Neverland have made me cry for the last four years and never more so than now.
Fran is reading my copies of the “Drina” books, devouring them and today she reminded me of Barrie’s play, Dear Brutus. I found a copy of this in the library and read it, probably after I left school, probably in that summer after 6th form. The story pops up over and over in the Drina books, during a time when the heroine is just a little lost and confused and seeking herself.
The plot is.. old fashioned… I’d say. It is a story about choice and how we all make the same mistakes over and over again. In the play, the characters have a chance, lost in a magical wood, of having their life over again. All but one make the same mistakes but one changes and for a brief time, he enjoys knowing his daughter, one he never had and the life that might have given him. Then he goes in to the house for some reason and the wood disappears and Margaret is lost to him forever.
Just now, I feel as if I’m tiptoeing across a minefield. Worse really; I feel like I’m playing the computer game with the grid and the bombs. I’m stood in the centre and all the squares around me have explosives. If I’m lucky, I might only lose a leg. If I’m not, I’m going to lose everything. If I’m really lucky (and I don’t feel like luck is exactly on my side just now) I might get to nip across a square where the bomb has a time delay. I might get out. Because I do have to move. I can’t stay on this square forever.
The questions are endless. Another baby? No other baby? Birth? Section? Accept it not happening? Try and overcome it not happening? Risk a life? Risk a death? Risk sickness? Risk me?
How long do I stay in the wood, that is the question? Or how long do I stand by the French Windows and hope the wood will come back? And what do I do about the children I’ve lost there? I never thought I’d be praying that there really is a Neverland. It never seemed like I might one day have to hope it was real.