Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Peter Pan Contagion

She grew up in a world that was far from the fairytales she read in books.  But if she was honest she remembered those stories with far more clarity than she does her own life.  She remembered the worlds of fairies and witches and vampires and ghosts, even werewolves and three headed dogs.  I'm sure you were expecting princesses trapped in towers or forgotten slippers at the ball.  She wasn't your ordinary child.  And if you ask anyone that's what made her most entertaining.  Her favorite story though was one you might know, and the title of that one was Peter Pan.

She didn't envy Wendy, as most girls her age did.  She didn't pine for Peter or fear Captain Hook.  She didn't even revel at the fun that the lost boys had, or find meaning in the hidden life lessons.  She wanted Peter Pan's life.  She wanted to live in a world where she never had to grow up, no matter how unlikely or how unfulfilling that life would be.  She wanted to stay young forever, and more than anything she wanted to fly.

And so as the years have wore on, she retained her belief in the world, in the unlikely, in the fantasy, wishing that someday she could fly on the wings of understanding and unwavering hope.  She thought that once that day came she wouldn't have to worry anymore, that she could live forever with the innocence she refused to give up.  For twenty-five years she succeeded, and then at roughly 3:24 today she flew.

She was an amazing young woman, and in her short time on this earth she changed almost every person she came into contact with.  She opened their eyes in ways that most were not ready for, and also in ways some will not even notice until years will have wore on and they too learn to fly.  She was a touchstone, this little girl.  And in many ways that part of her still lives on within me, because I was that little girl.  I had those dreams; I just didn't quite realize that maybe I had gotten Peter Pan all wrong.

As much as she yearned for those fairytales we have already gone over the fact that her life did not resemble them, nor does anyone's really.  But if you remember the story correctly, Peter Pan can fly because a) he believes b) tinkerbell provides some fairy dust and c) he has a happy thought.  Unfortunatley, in this world, magic does not exist, nor do any of those fairytale creatures.  So if fairies don't exist, their dust does not exist either, so Peter would not have gotten far with only happy thoughts and belief.  What then, did he have?  What did she have today, that she did not before?  What happened at 3:24?

It took all of her twenty five years, but today she discovered the key to this existence.  She saw something within herself that many others had already seen.  It was the part of her that touched them all; the part that stays with them and changes them minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years... decades down the line.  She had hope.  And at 3:24 today, twenty-five years after her father had read it to her for the first time, she understood the story of Peter Pan.

Peter Pan could fly because he had hope for a better world, a different world.  And today so did she.

It did not quite work the way she had thought it would, although if it were up to me I would prefer just this.  Changing the world in small ways each day.  Saving it in a sense, from itself.  She left for a school conference yesterday, traveled halfway across the country never imagining that she would not return, or that I would instead.  Her teacher asked her a question many others had in the past, and looking back it was quite simple.  What do you hope to do with your life?  Hope.  And she answered it, truthfully, for the first time.  She didn't just wish she could save this world, she hoped to change it, one troubled client at a time.  Hoped.  And before the words tumbled off of her tongue she was flying, and in doing so grew into me.

It is only now that I realize my place in this world, the importance that I may have.  She said she hoped to change the world, but I know that she already has.  Changing the world happens one person at a time, and even if I only change one, only save one, that's enough.  That's enough to change the entire world.  Peter Pan knew, and I guess maybe so did my father, even as he read the story to a tiny little girl rocking in her cradle, and again and again to that same child as she was growing up. 

Hope can be a powerful thing.  Some might even call it a contagion, but she just called it flying.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The taste of his intentions

Do you ever see a melody, or hear a feeling? Knowing full well that you're not supposed to be able to experience the world this...fully? I'm not supposed to be able taste his intentions, but my lips, they're bittersweet with his regret, and the taste won't go away.  And the flowers he left on my doorstep are already starting to reek of my desperation.  Oh how contradicting this life can be.  His effect on me is addictive, and before i know it I'm running into his arms, overwhelmed by my suddenly twisted senses.  My eyes blinded to the light of warning, my ears muffled to the sounds of danger, my body numb to the feeling of my already breaking heart.  The event, it's so catastrophic that it can bend reality until the blood that keeps this heart beating begins to scream.

And eventually that scream becomes a whisper, trapping his image on her last breath. Uniting two lost souls, forever and always, but only in death.