DANIAR

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Cahaya kuning senja yang semakin lama menjingga menyiram jalanan, meyiram segenap perasaan yang ta berhenti sejenak dari upacara kehidupan.

Cahaya itu beranjak lalu melesat-lesat, membias dan membelai rambut seorang wanita yang melambai tertiup angin, wajah wanita yang membelakangi cahaya, tapi tidak terlalu meyilaukan sehingga bisa ditatap, tapi aku ta ingin menatap mu seperti keindahan yang segera hilang, semcam kebahagiaan. Wajah itu juga memantul dari genangan air disekitarnya, genangan air yang tak pernah bergerak memperlihatkan langit senja. Aku tak akan lupa saat-saat pertama kali aku menatapmu. Kau sedang berdiri di sana, dalam remang senja langit yang kemerah-merahan, senja menjadi begitu sendu dan mengharu begitu indah. Segala pesona senja yang akan membuat kita jatuh cinta terlalu mudah.

Perlahan aku melihat ke langit jingga yang menaungi wajah kebahagiaan diriku. Kamu menoreh ke-atas dan melihat layang-layang dilangit bertarung dalam kekelaman jingga yang memudar. Sebelum jingga menghilang, saat jingga semakin mengungu aku harus menyatakanya padamu.

Kau duduk sebentar di bangku taman kota itu, aku melihatmu, aku duduk di sudut berseberangan dengan wajahmu. Seolah-olah aku menulis surat cinta terhadapmu, surat yang kutulis di bawah cahay senja yang merah temaram, di sini, di tempat aku memikirkan dirimu.

‘wanita tercinta tanpa bernama, apakah kau melihat ke arah yang sama? Memandangi senja yang menyelimuti kota yang perlahan-lahan merubahnya menjadi malam.

Kutulis surat ini kepadamu disana perlahan-lahan, bukan tangan yang bergerak di atas kertas melainkan hati yang menterjemahkan dirinya ke dalam tinta, aku harap kata-kata ini merungkuh dirimu’

Aku berhenti menulis sejenak, ku lihat langit disekitar semakin menggelap, seolah-olah matahari di luar sana telah mengkerut, perlahan-lahan menjauh, tapi itu tidaklah sepenting dengan wanita tanpa nama itu. Aku melanjutkan gerakan pena ditanganku.

‘wahai wanita tanpa namaku, apakah suasana ini indah bagi kita berdua, bisakah kita tinggal abadi, seperti daun melayang tertiup angin yang kita tidak tahu lagi ada dimana, namun masih tetap tinggal indah dalam kenangan kita’

‘aku berharap kita tinggal di sebuah ruang dalam semesta yang dimana waktu tak tercatat, kau dan aku berbisik dalam kegelapan, kita saling menyentuh, saling merasa.’ Aku kembali berhenti menulis senjenak.

Kemudian Aku melihat sekitar bahwa cahaya keremangan berubah menjadi kegelapan, bola matahari tenggelam dicakrawala, jauh – jauh diluar kota. Matahari senja yang lenyap ditelan gedung-gedung bertingkat. Kini kekelaman tinggal di kota, kota yang riang menjadi temaram, ditemani oleh kegenitan cahaya listrik yang kemudian berkeredap riang di antara kelam, menghabiskan hari-hari yang terulang ke-sekian.

‘wanita tanpa nama, aku ingin membangun dunia kita sendiri. Wanita tanpa nama jangan tinggalkan aku dalam kesunyinan dan kedinginan dalam pekat malam ini, aku ingin menghabiskan waktu bersamamu dari kelam ke kelam, kita arungi waktu bersama’

‘aku ragu mendekatimu, aku pesimis bahwa kau akan menerima perasaaanku, bahwa kau ta tertarik secara fisik terhadap diriku, aku yang peduli terhadap dirimu dan kau yang tak pernah memandangku bahkan tidak berfikiran untuk perduli terhadap orang asing seperti diriku’

‘apakah harusnya aku tidak perduli dengan semua ini, terhadap serbuk-serbuk perasaan yang tersisa untukmu, aku takut bahwa serbuk-serbuk perasaan itu dihempaskan oleh kata-kata mu, bagiakan lenyap hilang ditiup angin, bertebaran berantakan bercampur baur dengan debu yang berterbangan’

Ah sudahlah, aku beranjak dan menapaki langkahku ke arahmu berharap bahwa aku akan mengenali serbuk-serbuk perasaan itu kembali jika arah angin kembali menuju ke arah kita. Perasaan – perasaan yang seolah olah membuat kita berkata ‘aku seperti pernah berada disini, pada suatu hari, pada suatu masa, entah kapan, dari masa lalu ataukah masa depan’.

Aku sampai di depan wajahmu, aku merasakan cinta. Aku tak mengerti kenapa, memang ada saat-saat diamana kita tidak harus mengerti apa-apa, tidak perlu memaklumi apa-apa dan tidak perlu menyesali apa-apa, kecuali hanya merasa bergerak dan menjelma.

‘hi, naufal’ sambil menawarkan jabat tangan

‘Daniar’ dia berkata.

Lampu – lampu kendaraan disekitar kita membentuk untaian cahaya putih dan cahaya merah yang panjang, Wajah penjual kopi bermunculan dan mereka menawarkan ke setiap orang-orang yang duduk di bangku-bangku taman itu.

Aku memesan kopi, dan aku akan mengenang wakut dalam gelas kopi itu yang akan mendingin sebelum embun pagi tiba.

Kita saling bertanya satu sama lain, tentang siapa diriku, siapa dirimu. Bukankah kita sudah cukup bahagia, meskipun hanya saling bertanya? Kau mencertiakan pahit, getir dan perjuangan hidupmu, begitu juga diriku. Begitu banyak kabar dari jauh, tentang orang-orang yang kita termui, yang mengabarkan tentang ruang dan bumi yang selalu mengeluh. Begitu banyak kepedihan di jalanan, darah berceceran dan kita begitu sibuk dengan perasaan kita sendiri – tapi apalah salahnya? Kadang aku berfikir tentang betapa hidup itu fana, sepotong riwayat di tengah miliaran tahun semesta.

Kita berdua saling bercerita, seperti dua orang di belantara peristiwa, bertanya-tanya tentang apakah kita masih punya arti, dalam ukuran tahun cahaya? 😥 dalam sepotong percakapan yang kadang-kadang terganggu.

Aku ingin percakapan kita utuh, ah sepertinya tak pernah untuh dan ta pernah selesai, dan tak pernah menjadi lengkap. Namum siapa yang menuntut semua ini harus sempurna?

Aku gagal menyatakan perasaanku sebelum senja temaram. Tekatku berubah untuk menyatakan perasaan sebelum aku kehilangan malam. Atau seharusnya aku tahu bahwa semua ini tidak bisa menjadi apa-apa, tak perlu menjadi apa-apa. Aku sudah senang meski hanya saling memandang, dan tak perlu menengok segala penyesalan sebelum pertemuan.

Tak ada yang bisa disalahkan, tak perlu harus bertanya, kenapa harus jadi begini. Aku bertanya tentang apakah kita harus memanjakan perasaan? Atau memang sudah waktunya kita harus menjadi kejam kepada diri kita sendiri, membiarkan perasaan kita menggelepar seperti ikan, dan mencoba hidup bersama dengan kenyataan? Tapi apakah kamu bersedia menjadi teman hidupku dan hidup bersama-sama denganku?

Sudah terlalu seringku mendengar tentang seorang yang manti sendirian di kamar, kesepian, tanpa teman, membusuk perlahan-lahan, aku tak mau seperti itu, atau jangan-jangan aku akan mati seperti itu.

Kita berbincang dan kemudian aku menyembunyikan perasaan bahwa kamulah orang yang akan selalu kurindukan dan kucemaskan dan aku ialah seorang yang menyandarkan kehidupanya pada perasaan, dan perasaan itu ialah kamu.

Bintang mengintip dilangit yang bersih disaat kamu menyapukan lipstik kebibir. Perasaan ragu dan perbuatan dungu yang berharap kau pun tahu. Perasaan yang merubah menjadi gelap menghitam, langit berubah menjadi muram, gerimis pun melintas setelah senja, aku ta tahu masikah aku akan bertemu ‘malamku’. Dalam jejak senyap malam, langkahku mendekat diselimuti hujan, aku mencinta dalam sedu sendan yang tak bertanya. Apakah masih disebut cinta apabila tidak terdapat kebahagiaan padanya?

Kita semua memang akan menjadi tua Dan, tapi siapakah yang akan merasa kehilangan? Kita tidak akan pernah pergi ke mana-mana Dan, percayalah kita, kamu dan aku akan tetap tinggal di sini, saling mengenang ketika senja tiba selamanya. Aku menulis ini untuk mu, dalam huruf-huruf yang membentuk kata-kata cetak, yang tidak akan pernah hilang untuk selama-lamanya.

 

VENT #8 (MITCH ALBOM – TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE)

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Happiness.exe has stopped responding.


“If you hold back on the emotions, if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heard even, you experience them fully and completely.”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie



“Don’t cling to things because everything is impermanent.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it.”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie



“Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do somehing else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, “Love is the only rational act.”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you.
On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it…You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief… But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely.You know what pain is. You know what love is. “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“The truth is, part of me is every age. I’m a three-year-old, I’m a five-year-old, I’m a thirty-seven-year-old, I’m a fifty-year-old. I’ve been through all of them, and I know what it’s like. I delight in being a child when it’s appropriate to be a child. I delight in being a wise old man when it’s appropriate to be a wise old man. Think of all I can be! I am every age, up to my own.”

― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“We’re always waiting for something. It starts when you’re a child; sitting in front of the oven waiting for the cookies to bake. It’s knowing that you’ve done everything right and now all you’re waiting on is the reward for your hard work. It’s in your teens, when you’re engrossed in “happily ever after” syndrome – waiting for your prince charming to come and sweep you off your feet and into the sunset. It’s when you’re eighty, slowly opening your eyes and feeling the world engross you in its entirety. Waiting for that moment, the moment where you close your eyes and the pain disappears – waiting for heaven to take you away. Throughout life we’re taught to wait; we are taught patience, love and compassion. We learn that life is about waiting, it’s about staying positive and looking forward to the future, no matter what may come our way.”

– Unknown


 

US

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It is strange how often a heart can be broken before the years can make it wise.


At some point, we weren’t just together. We became something that everyone knew about, and was happy to see happening. We were so known for being in our relationship, that it made it hard for us to be in love and go through tough times without the world watching every moment.

I miss the days when the only people that knew we were in love were us.


“You ever look a picture of yourself, and see a stranger in the background? It makes you wonder how many strangers have pictures of you. How many moments of other peoples life have we been in. Were we a part of someone’s life when their dream came true or were we there when their dream died. Did we keep trying to get in? As if we were somehow destined to be there or did the shot take us by surprise. Just think, you could be a big part of someone elses life, and not even know it.”


Here. This is for you, just because”

Completely flustered and flushed in a pink tone of joy, due to the genuine act of kindness and love, you manage to mutter a short “awe, you shouldn’t have” through your trembling lips. These flowers now carry a whole new level of significance simply for the fact that it was from your lover. And so you nourish this token of love with the utmost fragility. You never forget to fill the vase with water and it has now become a beautiful center piece that ties your entire bedroom together like the final bow on any gift, completing the masterpiece.

Yet you find yourself spending most of your efforts struggling to keep these flowers alive because you couldn’t bare the thought of letting this token of love perish. What would it mean? That you failed what appears to be the easiest thing to handle? The idea pains you and you continue to fumble through the seconds that pass because you start to realize that it is inevitable. Everything dies.

Then you become the sole witness to such a beautiful death.

And this is the sad truth to all that lives.


I’ve seen way too much and wore my heart on my sleeve way too often to forget what it’s like to feel so fragile and impermanent. i’ve built cities from the depths of broken hearts only to watch as they burst into scintillating luster but i’m only human and humans try until they bleed or until life robs them of strength. i’m tired and my eyes are weak from the burning desire to see beyond the concrete truths. This is all that it’ll ever be, between you and i, me and the next, just like how it’s been with everyone else. i am that comfort, that change, that temporary escape; a distraction. i’ve accepted that a long time ago so I stopped hoping for things to be different. i’ll help you and i’ll hold your hands but when my time is up, i’ll be on my way again and i’m supposed to believe that it’s okay.

CLOUD AND THE DUNE (PAULO COELHO)

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A young cloud was born in the midst of a great storm over the Mediterranean Sea, but he did not even have time to grow up there, for a strong wind pushed all the clouds over towards Africa.

As soon as the clouds reached the continent, the climate changed. A bright sun was shining in the sky and, stretched out between them, lay the golden sands of the Sahara. Since it almost never rains in the desert, the wind continued pushing the clouds towards the forests in the south.

Meanwhile, as it happens with young humans too, the young cloud decided to leave his parents and his older friends in order to discover the world.

“What are you doing?,” cried the wind. “The desert’s the same all over. Rejoin the other clouds, and we’ll go to Central Africa where there are amazing mountains and trees!”

But the young cloud, a natural rebel, refused to obey, and, gradually, he dropped down until he found a gentle, generous breeze that allowed him to hover over the golden sands. After much toing and froing, he noticed that one of the dunes was smiling at him.

He saw that the dune was also young, newly formed by the wind that had just passed over. He fell in love with her golden hair right there and then.

“Good morning,” he said. “What’s life like down there?”

“I have the company of the other dunes, of the sun and the wind, and of the caravans that occasionally pass through here. Sometimes it’s really hot, but it’s still bearable. What’s life like up there?”

“We have the sun and wind too, but the good thing is that I can travel across the sky and see more things.”

“For me,” said the dune, “life is short. When the wind returns from the forests, I will disappear.”

“ And does that make you sad?”

“It makes me feel that I have no purpose in life.”

“I feel the same. As soon as another wind comes along, I’ll go south and be transformed into rain; but that is my destiny.”

The dune hesitated for a moment, then said: “Did you know that here in the desert, we call the rain paradise?”

“I had no idea I could ever be that important,” said the cloud proudly.

“I’v e heard that older dunes tell stories about the rain. They say that, after the rain, we are all covered with grass and flowers. But I’ll never experience that, because in the desert it rains so rarely.”

It was the cloud’s turn to hesitate now. Then he smiled broadly and said:

“If you like, I could rain on you now. I know I’ve only just got here, but I love you, and I’d like to stay here for ever.”

“When I first saw you up in the sky, I fell in love with you too,” said the dune. “But if you transform your lovely white hair into rain, you will die.”

“Love never dies,” said the dune. “It is transformed, and, besides, I want to show you what paradise is like.”

And he began to caress the dune with little drops of rain, so that they could stay together for longer, until a rainbow appeared.

The following day, the little dune was covered in flowers. Other clouds that passed over, heading for Africa, thought that it must be part of the forest they were looking for and scattered more rain. Twenty years later, the dune had been transformed into an oasis that refreshed travellers with the shade of  its trees.

And, all because, one day, a cloud fell in love, and was not afraid to give his life for that love.

A beautiful way of expressing that true love is selfless and it transforms.

FAIRIES IN HER LIFE

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Wendy Darling believed in fairies all her life.

This was based in kindness, not faith. It was a fearful thing. Sometimes she woke in the middle of the night panicked at the thought she might stop one day. What a world, to place the life of even as flawed a person as a Tinkerbell in the hands of child’s ability to believe.

Coming back, Wendy expected to miss the magic, the beauty, the feel of the wind in her unpinned hair. She expected to miss Peter, and she did. But she didn’t expect to miss the_ exhausting task of being the Lost Boy’s young mother.

And she didn’t miss it, not exactly. Wendy missed being useful, and she missed being listened to.

But she told her brothers stories, at night, still. She watched the light grow in their eyes and felt powerful for the first time since Neverland.

Michael came home from school crying one day. A boy on the playground had said fairies were stupid and fake. The teachers thought it was exhaustion or the disappointed hopes of a child who still believed his big sister’s bedtime stories. When father laughed at him at table, John hesitated for a moment and then joined in. Wendy pled an upset stomach and fled to her room.

Michael had nightmares for a week of a shining tiny person breathing their last on a Neverland forest floor.

Shaken awake in her own room, Wendy padded down the hall and creaked open his door. She gathered her smallest brother in her arms and said, “We’ll believe enough for all of them, every one. You and me, Michael, we’ll save them all.”

In the other bed John, pretending to sleep, squeezed his eyes shut. He wanted so badly to be grown.

His father had always told them true men protected people who needed it. John sat up. “I do believe in fairies,” he said, and his siblings chorused, “I do, I do.” Michael stopped crying. John started.

Wendy often asked herself why they had come back. The question surfaced over particularly tedious chores, or when her father came home drawn after a long day and picked apart her every flaw over the blandest supper Wendy’d ever tasted. But it surfaced also when she was happy, fetching sweets from the dime store, when Michael raced through the halls, hollering, an old shirt hoisted on a broom as a conquering flag.

Once, she had known how to fly. She remembered and it ached.
They tried to settle back in, all three of them, to shake lost boys and pirates from their heads. A year after leaving Neverland, Wendy’s mother asked why Wendy never brought nice girls home to play with. It took effort not to laugh.

Wendy didn’t say, “Nice girls? Tink tried to get the Lost Boys to shoot me out of the sky, tried to blow up her own home on the off chance she might get me, too.”

She didn’t tell her, “The mermaids would have liked to drown me, too, babbling away in those dolphin sounds that Peter could understand but that just gave me shivers.”

“All I want to be is a mother,” Wendy said instead, and meant, all I want is to be of use, to have people need me as much as they did. I want someone to believe my stories as much as Peter did.

She didn’t say, “And what could those girls offer me? I fought pirates. I touched the very stars.”

“I have all the friends I need in John and Michael,” Wendy offered. At mother’s frown, she added, “I’ll try harder.”

She joined a club against her own wishes. The club girls talked about dresses and Wendy thought about swords and crocodiles.

Wendy thought, these silly young things never heard that tick tock and shaken in their boots. They’ve never seen the stars up close.

They talked longingly of their mothers’ lipstick, of debutantes and growing up, and Wendy thought, How many fairies have you killed?

The years rolled on. Wendy fell in love with boys who needed her, who fascinated her, a long line of sharp-boned muses who forgot to eat their vegetables for weeks.

These boys only knew one kind of woman. They expected mothers, all of them, women childless or not, beautiful women with strength and graces pressed into their souls. If they had ever found Wendy crying over a thimble, they would not have known what to do with this alien fragile thing.

So they did not find her so. Wendy Darling was well versed in being the thing people needed her to be. Even to the most magical place she knew, Wendy had been brought for one reason. Peter’s boys had needed a mother

That thought sat rancid in her stomach for days, but then she remembered: Peter had lingered at her window all those nights not because he needed soup or love or tucking in. He had loved her stories.

She had taken the wild boy, the lost bird, the starcatcher, and had stolen his breath away with words of her own making. On the other side of years and years, Wendy caught her own breath.

She started carrying a thimble in her pocket. When Wendy felt powerless, like a thing and not a person, she slipped a finger against the chill shape. It was a slip of puckered metal, an odd knick knack of women’s work. But once, Wendy had named it something else, given it power.

Boys boasted around her, of jumping fences and wrestling, of stealing kisses. Wendy thought, you think you know the power of a kiss? I once defeated death with a thimble, because I gave it a name. I believed. Words are power, and the words are mine.

One day, someone did find her crying. Wendy was in the girl’s lavatory. It had been a little thing, John snapping at her over breakfast, and then some boy in the yard saying something careless. Wendy had thought, I once knew how to fly, and suddenly everything seemed too dirty and too confining to stand. She hid in the furthest stall from the door, and cried angrily about every speck of magic she had lost in her life.

There was a light knock on the door and some wispy little thing from the club Wendy’d been calling her penance peeked in

“My grandma died last year,” the girl said. “I was crying in the next stall over.” The girl sat up on the edge of the sink and said, “Do you want to hear a story about her?”

At the next club meeting, Wendy listened. A grinning redhead always used the past tense when she spoke of her father. Another girl, wan, flinched at loud sounds. They knew the sound of the ticking clock, these young women, some of them better than she ever had. Wendy had walked away from one beautiful world and into another. They had lost one, or many; or wished they could fly away the way she had gotten to, once.

Wendy stopped crying in bathrooms, mostly. She started checking them, quietly, and offering shoulders and stories of a magical land to the people she found there.

Wendy listened. One of the club girls was obsessed with trains, the way they take you away, the way they come back on schedule, the sound of them. Wendy asked, and she listened. A young woman whose hands folded in her lap like a wayward haystack stared out the window, entranced by a world only she could see.

Wendy thought, you’ve never seen the stars up close. She thought, maybe I can show you.

She dragged them all out one night, late, when they were out in the country for a school trip. They snuck out of their lodgings and got in terrible trouble for it, but that night the moon was missing and the sky was dusted with more blazing stars than they had ever seen, except for Wendy.

None of them but one odd duck knew the boys’ parts, but they did their best to dance there beneath them, to pretend they could catch starlight on their outstretched tongues.

Wendy wondered what the mermaids would have said, if she had ever learned their tongue. She wondered what stories Tinkerbell could have told her. She wondered if Tiger Lily would have taught her how to dance.

She wondered why none of the women in Neverland had been able to speak to her. She wondered why she hadn’t tried.

Michael sprouted inches and inches, his voice dropping to an alien depth. He stopped planting broomsticks tied with old red shirts on the dining room table and declaring the room claimed for Neverland.

Michael buried himself in books instead, as though that might be a way out. He started scribbling in journals, for all John teased him about it. Wendy was sure that those messy lines were not all poetry about the chin of the girl down the street, sure some of them were the adventures Michael was having still, somewhere inside. She was sure. She hoped with every ounce of herself, hoped like it was the kind of faith that makes children fly.

John buried himself in books, too, but all his joy in it was wrapped up in how they helped him win: win grades, and commendations, pats on the shoulders from their learned teachers, their father’s nod at supper. Wendy’s father had always terrified her, his hooked rage, the way he ran from meeting to appointment, pursued by the tick of the clock on his heels.

John joined debate, cricket, an honors society or two, a young businessmen’s club for boys.Wendy told him once, in a quiet moment alone, that she could hear the tick tock at his heels, too, these days.

John squeezed her hand. “Me, too, but it’s okay Wendy. C’mon, I always wanted to be a pirate.” He squeezed her hand again. “I’ll be better than he ever was, Wendy. I’ll be good.”

In their nursery room games, years ago now, John had always played Hook. Michael had played Peter.

Wendy had always been the narrator, the storyteller, the minstrel. She thought she rather liked it that way.

Wendy grew into a young woman. She went out dancing with her friends, whispered a pretend background for every eligible young bachelor who watched them, and listened to her friends’ laughter make those stories true.

They talked about dresses over light lunches, about boys and babies, about industrialism and pollution, about Plato and Darwin, the epiphanies and practicalities of falling in love. They talked Eleanor, the wispy girl from the bathroom, through her parents’ disappointment as she pursued a life as a legal secretary. Wendy dictated stories to give Ellie something interesting to practice on.

Another friend taught Wendy how to crochet. They made piles of socks for a charity drive, meeting up in the afternoons to sit in a sunlit window and crochet and talk the light away.

Wendy ran her hands over the heaps of warm socks when they were done. She was a girl who believed in magic, and this took her breath away, how patterns and patience could lead to this, could build something so good and solid.

No child ever grows up. They grow out. They grow down and deep, textured and heavy. They grow.

One day, decades later, Peter lighted on her old windowsill, chasing down a runaway shadow.

He thought she was her daughter. Wendy watched Jane stare up at this fey creature. Wendy could feel the weight of all the years between her daughter’s anxious gawky adolescent age and her own taller years, the backaches and the tragedy, the things her hands had built. Peter would never know them. Wendy wanted to weep as hard as she once had, at fifteen, over a thimble.

Wendy went downstairs, made a bag of sandwiches that she put in a backpack with some sturdy clothes and a pair of good shoes. Her daughter would not be going on any adventures clad only in a nightgown.

When she got back, Jane was flying. Wendy’s heart was breaking, was singing, was soaring. Peter was laughing. His shadow was watching her. It knew more than it told and always had.

Wendy pulled her daughter back to earth. She gave Jane the backpack and said, “You be brave. You be good. Remember to talk to the mermaids. Ask them to sing to you. Tell them your stories.”