When Wendy Grew Up

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Start your story with an unexpected knock on a window.... view prompt


Fantasy Coming of Age Kids

Knock knock.

I froze, staring at the window, feeling my eyes bug out of my head. The hell?

I blamed the coffee, the late nights, and my dad's smoking while I was in the womb for this hallucination. I probably imagined-

Knock knock! "Hey! It's me!"

I groaned in annoyance while my panic melted away. "Seriously?" Sweeping aside the curtain, I quietly pushed the window up, glaring at the sandy, curly-haired boy who stuck his head in.

"Hey, Wendy, long time no see!" Naturally, he spoke as loud as humanly possible.

"Peter, shh!" I clapped a hand over his tiny mouth, waiting to hear if anyone downstairs had quietened.

Nope, the dinner party was still on.

"What is it, Wendy? Pirates? Crocodiles? Poisonous tigers?"

"Worse, grown-ups," I replied grimly, and appropriately, Peter's face darkened. "Okay, come in, but quietly, Peter."

Peter grinned cheekily, "I'll be quiet as a mouse."

I snorted disbelievingly and watched him climb in, his weirdly independent shadow also clinging to the sill.

In the nick of time, I also managed to flip the picture of my girlfriend and me flat against my bedside table.

Thankfully, Peter didn't notice my blush as he zoomed around the room. There was definitely a time when I was younger that I adored him, and probably would have dated him, but now it was just weird.

He was the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (not the only boy that never grew up, as I had sadly discovered in my own life), and I was now an awkward, gangly teen, on the cusp of becoming the thing he dreaded most.

I was almost an adult, and in a way, I was relieved he'd shown up now.

Dating a literal child sounded weird as all hell now.

Peter making weird noises distracted me from my daze and I carefully lifted my hand off the photo frame.

"Whoa, you have a lot of books!" Peter exclaimed, pulling one off my shelf without asking. "Molecular and um-uh-" He mumbled, squinting at the title, his tiny arms and hands barely fitting around the tome.

"Molecular and Cellular Biology," I read off the spine, shrugging. "It's for university."

Peter gave me a weird sort of smile. "This isn't a fairytale. Is univer-smishy like school?"

I smiled wryly, amused that he'd remembered. "Yeah, actually it's-"

"You hear that, Tink? Wendy's still in boring, dreary, dreadful old school." Peter declared, and to my horror, pulled out a tiny pixie from a full to bursting satchel attached to his waist.

"Oh, and Tinkerbell's here," I announced, wondering how the fairy would react. Her reactions to me tended to be on the murderous to vengeful side, and there was literally no love between us.

The fairy immediately shot out of Peter's hand and circled me at a dizzying speed. Her pixie dust fell all over me, and I grinned, knowing what comes next.

Believing I could fly was instinctive, and I was swept into the air before I could say 'second star on the right'. I laughed, dazzled as always by the magic Peter brought with him.

It was joyful and amazing right up to the moment that I hit my head on the ceiling.

"You still believe!" Peter shrieked, and I dropped to the ground with anxiety, knowing that there was no way nobody else heard that.

I rubbed my head, sprawled on the floor, and heard someone's footsteps on the stairs. "Peter!" I hissed, and dragged the levitating boy into my closet by the ankle. "Be quiet, okay?" It was deeply unsettling how small he felt compared to me now. Had it really been that many years?

The door flew open, and Mrs.Darling peered in, looking a little bothered. "Wendy Moira Angela Darling, what's happening up here?"

I grinned, trying to look normal. "Sorry mum, I was working out."

My mother smiled slightly with her sweetly mocking mouth, no doubt noting that jeans and a tight cardigan were the most unusual of workout clothes. "Dearest, I have guests over, would you mind keeping it down?"

"Sure, yeah, sorry," I smiled politely, trying to surreptitiously brush ceiling plaster out of my hair.

Suddenly, both of us could hear a tinkling sound, and I fought to keep my face neutral. My mother frowned, looking around for the source of the noise.

"Wendy can you hear-"

"It's my new phone ringtone, mum," I replied breezily, bustling my mother out the door. "I could swear I just heard one of your guests calling you."

"Okay, but Wendy-"

"I love you too!" I shut the door, and sighed, leaning against it heavily.

Tinkerbell darted dangerously close in front of my face and stuck her tongue out, tiny arms crossed over a tiny chest.

"Yeah, yeah." I muttered. "Oh, hey, Tink, you wanna see something cool?"

Tinkerbell grudgingly nodded, so I rummaged in a cardboard box for one of my earlier art projects. It was a cute little doll house, almost the right proportions for a tiny pixie.

Tinkerbell made an ooh sound, and I smiled, "Look here, it's a little vanity, Tink." Tinkerbell immediately settled down, preening in the tiny mirror on the tiny vanity I'd assembled out of cardboard.

I sighed wearily, somehow drained by all this as well as exhilarated. All my life, as university, career, and future plans crept ever closer, I kept clinging to my connection to Neverland. The temptation to never grow up, to escape, to somehow return to a world where magic wasn't the exception was overwhelming.

Now I felt like an adult, able to diplomatically entertain both Tinkerbell and-

I swung open my closet door, "Okay, Peter, you can come out now-"

"What is this?" Peter asked, dangling one of my bras in front of me.

"Okay, no!" I shouted, snatching it away from him. I felt my face heat up and was inwardly very thankful that Marina wasn't in my room when Peter decided to swing by.

Peter howled with laughter, wickedly amused by embarrassing me.

I stuffed the bra back into one of the baskets in my closet and glowered at him. "Peter-"

"So you haven't grown up yet, I was worried," Peter said suddenly, tone more relieved than his usual glee.

"What?" I asked, thrown by that admission.

Peter shrugged. "Your mom still talks to you like you're a kid, and even though you look different, you're still like me." His face lit up like a million bucks when he said it.

Oh that's sad. I looked away, knowing that statement was false. In two weeks, I'd become 18, officially not a child anymore. Peter would remain ageless, young, perpetually frustrated that I'd left Neverland and him.

He would remain alone, stealing away children only to realize that no matter what he tried or what he did, they would always surpass him, leave him, and never return.

"Peter, why did you come back now?" I asked gently, patting the side of my bed so that he would sit. "Did you miss me?" I teased lightly.

I bit back a swear when I saw the shadow cross Peter's face.

"Miss you?" Peter repeated, sounding disgusted. "Why would I miss you? We were having the greatest time in Neverland, you left because you're boring!"

"Okay, Peter-" I rolled my eyes a little, some of my earlier happiness at nothing having changed fading.

"How old are you now?" Peter asked suspiciously, and I knew I had to tread lightly.

"Uh, twel-fourteen." I stammered, trying to make it as weird as possible. '

Peter looked confused, and before he could say anything, I followed it up with the one thing that annoyed him the most.

"Don't tell me you've never met anyone that age before," I smiled, and predictably Peter became all bluster again.

"I have most certainly met someone that age," Peter replied haughtily, and I had to bite back a smile. He really was the cockiest boy in the world!

"Okay, Peter, you were telling me? Why have you come to visit me now?" I asked quickly before the child figured me out.

Peter stared at me stubbornly for a moment, then crossed his arms, looked away from me, and said, "Why did you leave?"

I raised an eyebrow, surprised. "Oh, because I wanted to go home to my family, Peter. And because," I paused here, knowing that the second part was something I told myself all the time, trying to convince myself I made the right choice in returning. "I did want to grow up Peter. I want to get older, and do things, and I knew I couldn't stay."

"Why?" Peter asked, voice wavering a little.

I bit my lips, feeling sad too. I often wondered if it had been right bringing the boys back. All they did now was play video games, and they'd completely forgotten Neverland. The world kind of sucked, and I hated having to be responsible, and honestly not being able to still be a kid.

I looked mournfully at Peter and knew the truth. I couldn't be a kid forever, nobody but Peter had enough spite, mischief, and sheer determination to always believe in fairies, and piss off pirates, and fly.

Peter looked miserable, and I suspected that other lost kids were leaving too. That's why he'd come, to figure out how to keep everyone young like him.

"Why don't I tell you in a story?" I offered, trying to buy some time.

The answer to why we all grew up was painfully obvious, and painful too. I mean literally, it had to do with biology, but more philosophically and metaphorically there was a much more complex answer.

Peter nodded, excited as always. "There'd better be pirates," He warned.

"And fairies and mermaids too." I giggled, knowing that Captain Jack Sparrow would blow Peter's mind.

People always told me that I was frighteningly good with kids, and I figured it was because of my time with Peter. In a way, he was the last true child. The only one who still believed, sometimes to ridiculous extremes.

I kind of wished that more children stayed like him, childishly excited by silly things, their minds moving a minute when they heard stories, believing in everything. Sweet and innocent.

And I was happy to slip back into being a child again, even if it was just for one night.

So I tented her blanket over the bed, grabbed a torch, beckoned Peter, and said,

"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this...you interested so far, Peter?"

"You always tell the best stories," Peter whispered, fully engaged in this story.

Being around Peter's intoxicating brand of childishness, I felt better about growing up. Peter was so engrossed in the fantasy, he kept himself young out of sheer force of belief. Nothing that I could ever tell him would convince him of otherwise.

Seeing him again, told me that while Peter entertained the same childish games over and over, which had its own sweet nostalgia and beauty, I would get to see the world. Not just mermaids, but I would have girlfriends, and meet people, and grow. I would face a million and one problems. I would have bad days with more suffering than Peter could experience in a million lifetimes. But I would get to see everything life had to offer.

Not a better or worse decision, but a choice. And now I would have to make the most of it.

The good thing was that a part of me would always be a little childish, and I would always see the magic in things.

Secretly, I vowed to take John and Michael hiking, and traveling too. Show them other beauties of the world, instead of letting the magic die out in them.

I smiled again, giving one last, wistful look to the twinkling second star on the right, before focusing on the eternal child in front of me. "Okay, here goes!"

June 12, 2021 00:30

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J Sagar
06:39 Jun 13, 2021

I salute your imagination. Great story!


Moon Lion
22:37 Jun 13, 2021

Thank you so much for reading :)


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K. Antonio
19:06 Jun 12, 2021

I loved how this was a Peter Pan retelling. It was ADORKABLE, nicely written and charming. I enjoyed reading something just so light and nostalgic. You really captured Peter Pan's childish persona.


Moon Lion
19:45 Jun 12, 2021

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)


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S. Closson
09:25 Jun 13, 2021

This is by far the most entertaining I have ever found Wendy or Peter Pan. Fantastic work, you're an incredible author!


Moon Lion
22:39 Jun 13, 2021

Thank you so much for your kind comment! You're an incredible author too, I've read some of your stories and was blown away :)


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Eve Retter
07:28 Nov 14, 2021

i love all your stories, but im very glad this one made it to your writing account. super sweet and i cannot believe all of this was literally inspired by the random bookshop we went to.


Moon Lion
06:02 Jan 29, 2022

That bookshop was incredible, and the drawings of Peter Pan in that super old, art noveau ish style was everything


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12:11 Jun 15, 2021

OMG! You Gotta FINISH the Story! I was at the edge of my seat in this doctor's office right now and people looking like "what is wrong with her. " but anyways you gotta finish the story it was AMAZINGLY FANTASTIC. I loved it. it reminds me of my early childhood.


Moon Lion
23:10 Jun 15, 2021

Thanks so much, this is the sweetest comment ever!


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17:49 Jun 14, 2021

What a nice twist on Peter Pan!! Great writing.


Moon Lion
20:00 Jun 14, 2021

Thanks so much for reading!!!


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Bored Dragonguy
06:17 Jan 29, 2022

Very interesting...I can almost imagine the trolls now, "BuT WenDy WaSn'T gAy?". Lol, but seriously a good addition to the Moon Lion antholgoy


Pencil L
06:28 Jan 29, 2022

Would they technically be wrong? I guess the argument could be that Wendy was a) quite young, b) lived in a time where gender roles and identities were quite restricted.


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Moon Lion
22:00 Jan 30, 2022

Why would you even bring this uppp??


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Jk Bowling
05:59 Jan 29, 2022

I can see why this is one of the more popular ones, it's a very sweet and engaging story. Loved it.


Moon Lion
06:02 Jan 29, 2022

Hey! Thanks for reading :)


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19:40 Jun 21, 2021

This is the best Peter Pan retelling I have ever read. It's also the ONLY Peter Pan retelling that I've ever read, but if I happened to read others, this would still be the best. :) I. Love. This. Story. So. Much. I can feel Wendy's struggle. She's on the border between childhood and adulthood, and she's being pulled in both directions. But she ultimately chooses growing up--although I have a feeling that she'll never stop believing, not really. She'll be a wise young woman who knows what it is to love everyone. Also: Wendy ha...


Moon Lion
21:18 Jun 21, 2021

Thank you so much for your kind comment! I'm very happy to hear that you liked this story, and honestly, this is one of the best comments I have ever received :)


21:30 Jun 21, 2021

It was so fun to read! :D


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Emily Bronte
19:32 Jun 20, 2021

Awesome story! I love Peter Pan and would have never thought to write something like this! I like how you made it more modern than the actual Peter Pan books/movies with the whole phone ringtone and jeans things. It's also really fun to see the growing age difference between Peter and Wendy.


Moon Lion
20:45 Jun 20, 2021

Thank you so much for commenting! I love Peter Pan too, and there were so many ways I wanted to write this, so I'm glad you liked it :)


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