Question 12: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
I felt safe in the woods. In the woods, I was the strong one, the brave one. In the woods, a fallen tree was the mast of a ship and I was Peter Pan, my sword slashing left and right, pushing Captain Hook back and back toward the mouth of the ticking crocodile. No one could stop me.
As a kid, I would spend hours in the forests around the house where I grew up. I learned the names of trees—ash and elm and oak and shagbark. I built small shelters from thick branches and vines and brush and I would lay in them and read and imagine a different life in far off, often magical places.
* * *
One night, during the winter, my mom came into my room. I was already awake from the screaming. In the glow from my nightlight, I saw her face swollen and already darkening around her eyes, her lips bleeding.
I don’t remember getting out of the house. I don’t remember if my step-dad tried to keep us from leaving. I don’t remember the car ride to the police station. I remember sitting at a cold metal table watching my mom try to scribble what had happened. I remember an officer taking her into another room, asking me to sit tight while they took a few photos. They’d be right back, he said.
We left the station and she drove me to her friends’ house. Linda and Dan had two sons—friends of mine from Scouts—and they lived on my bus route. That night, I slept on the floor of their son Paul’s room upstairs.
I stayed there for 3 weeks while my mom stayed at a friend’s place closer to work. One day on the phone, Mom told me my step-dad had agreed to get help, to start going to AA again.
“He’s just going to do it again,” I said.
“It’ll be different this time.”
“No, it won’t. I don’t want to go home if he’s there.”
* * *
That summer, I started running away.
I knew a place, a small glade tucked into a hill that couldn’t be seen from the road, even if I lit a small fire. When things got really bad, I’d pack a bag with food and books and my sleeping bag. I’d wait until the house went dark, went quiet, and I’d go into the woods.
Kids are supposed to be frightened of the woods after dark, but I ran to them. We had a wide yard. It was at least 50 yards from our back door to the woods, and I never felt safe until I made it to the tree line. No flashlight—in case someone might have woken to the creak of the back door, in case someone might be watching from the window, in case someone might be following me.
But no one ever followed me.
I remember the first few times I ran away, I’d hear my mom and step-dad shouting for me from the road. Angry, loud voices cutting into the trees. I knew she couldn’t call my dad. I knew she couldn’t call the cops. She’d lose me if she did that. And after the 4th or 5th time, they never came looking for me. They just waited for me to come back home.
When I would come out of the woods, it was always the same. There would be yelling, cursing. Occasionally they would hit me. Send me to my room. They would always expect an apology.
* * *
I never left the woods unless my mom’s car was in the drive. I didn’t want to know what it’d be like to face my step-dad on my own, especially if he’d been drinking already. My mom, in her own broken way, protected me from him as best she could.
The first time I came back home, my mom came into my room and sat down on the bed. She had calmed down. “Why did you do that?” she asked.
I stared at the floor. The answer trapped in my throat, my eyes swelling with heat.
“Why?” she asked again.
“Because I feel safer in the woods.”
We sat quiet for a few minutes. I don’t remember her saying anything, but I remember the sound of her starting to cry. She got up. She walked out of my room. She closed the door behind her.
* * *
They would always expect an apology. They would never apologize for why I ran to the woods in the first place. I guess, apart from that conversation with my mom, I’m not sure I ever told them why I ran away.
I suppose I always assumed they should’ve known.
It seemed obvious to me. My step-dad would come home drunk or high or both. He would rage around the house. Shout at my mom, ugly words, threatening and dangerous words. At times, he’d shout about me. Ugly words. Threatening and dangerous words. Maybe he hit my mom. Maybe not. Maybe the sound of shattered glass or something breaking. Maybe not. Eventually he would pass out, and I’d grab my things and I’d disappear.
I always assumed they should’ve known.
* * *
Over the past several months, I’ve learned a lot about myself—about how to speak up for myself and say, “I need this.”
But I still apologize for everything. It’s obvious I still don’t really believe I deserve to feel happy and safe. I still feel the guilt of the woods—the guilt of all the things I should’ve done. I should’ve faced my step-dad. I should’ve spoken up—to my dad, to the cops, my teachers—someone who could’ve made it stop. I should’ve said to my mother, “I need you to provide a safe home for me. I need you to love me more than your fear of being alone.”
Instead, I packed my things and ran away. And I’ve been doing that ever since, in one way or another.
I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve found in myself some bright and good version of me to fight for. And I’ve found someone I want to fight myself for. Someone to show all my hiding spots. I want her to know where to find me.
Because of course, I want to wake up and feel like don’t have to apologize for running into the woods, for wanting to feel safe. I want to feel like I don’t have to apologize for wanting to feel loved, to feel missed. Any maybe that will happen someday. But even with therapy, I know that day is pretty far off.
In the meantime, the woods will be my first instinct. I know that now. I will always have to fight that. I know sometimes I’ll run to them to find the courage to speak up for myself. I know sometimes I might even run to them just to see if anyone misses me—like a tantrum, testing the love of my friends, my family, my partner. In so many ways, I am still that scared little kid.
So, dear friends, family—I know it’s a lot to expect, it’s a lot to ask for. But I want to ask, and I don’t want to apologize for it. If you ever wake up and notice my knapsack gone, my sleeping bag gone—look to the woods. If you have it in you—if you’re not frightened or tired or struggling yourself—would you follow me into the woods? And when you find me there, will you simply wrap your arms around me, say, “Don’t you know the world is magical enough as it is? You don’t have to imagine a better life anymore. Your better life is out there, and we all miss you so much.”
If you will do that for me, I will do that for you. I promise.
dapper day fall 2014. disney bounds (post 2 of 2).
1-3.) disney bound group picture 4.) got her beauty sleep: aurora 5.) this disney bound is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction: bellhop 6.) hungry for more…tick tock: crocodile 7.) hee-haw: lampwick 8-9.) too cute to be gloomy: eeyore 10.) hats off to these three: aurora, snow white, && cruella deville.
Hook smiled on them with his teeth closed, and took a step toward Wendy. His intention was to turn her face so that she should see the boys walking the plank one by one. But he never reached her, he never heard the cry of anguish he hoped to wring from her. He heard something else instead.
It was the terrible tick-tick of the crocodile.
advanced addition to the introvert collection / overgrowing freckles in the overgrowing garden / Peter Pan themes at ‘work’, cardboard ticking crocodiles and I’m crossing my fingers for a thimbled heart and a trip to never land (have slept with my window ajar since childhood) / 5-year-old Jack’s (aptly named) drawing of a sinking titanic / spelling of meanwhile/meenwile made my little heart ache
(5x10 Spoilers!) I don’t think Hook going after Rumple now is OOC because Hook was obsessed with revenge against Rumple for hundreds of years (plus the last time Hook and Rumple crossed paths Rumple ripped his heart out and tried to monologue him to death). If you could get something you used to want really badly, wouldn’t you do it even if you didn’t need it like you used to?
I think Hook’s mental processes have gone something like this:
can i request an imagine where the reader is very modern and is bought to Neverland and when she’s there, she’s very witty and sarcastic and tends to catch peter off guard because her sass is very reasonable… idk if that made sense lmao .. anyways ily xx
Sure thing love!!! This is my first request so I hope ya’ll like it!!!
You landed on the sandy shores of the Neverland Island. You were in the middle of updating your Facebook when a gust of wind blew your bedroom window open. Of course, being the curious girl you were, you went over to the window only to be dragged out of your home and flown across the New York City Skyline.
You quickly dusted yourself off and grabbed your phone from out of your jeans pocket. It was nighttime on the island and you could barely see where you were. The only light came from the crescent moon which rose high above the trees. The stars itself were barely visible as the clouds appeared to be taking over the night sky. Still, you looked around aimlessly at the land before you.
“Hello.” A mysterious voice called to you from behind.
You whipped your head around, startled by the fact that you were no longer alone. A boy around your age stood in front of you. He was dressed in a mossy green and brown shirt. His hair was light brown and was swept to the side revealing his emerald green eyes.
“And what are you suppose to be?” You said looking at the boy from head to toe.”An elf of some sort?”
He laughed at your accusation and shook his head no. “No. I’m not an elf. My name is Peter, Peter Pan.”
You looked at him for a split second trying to grasp what he said then burst out laughing. “Peter Pan? Are you serious right now?” you continued to laugh as Peter’s eyes darkened.
“If you’re Peter Pan than I’m the ticking crocodile cause you’re currently wasting my time.” You said turning your back to him. “Seriously, I feel like I am being punk’d or something. You’re not real.”
Peter grabbed your wrist turning you around. His eyes were still dark but he held his poise when speaking back to you.
“What makes you think that I’m not real?”
You rolled your eyes, “Clearly you’ve never heard of Disney. Besides, I think I like that version of you better than this one.”
“I’m curious,” Said Pan taking a step closer towards you, “What was so much better about this Disney Pan, when the real one is right here, standing in front of you?”
You smiled at him, trying not to let your own personal guard down. “Well first of all he’s got my more of an edge than you!”
Pan looked at you wide eyed, his lips curved into a smile as you began taking baby steps towards him. “Oh is that right?”
“Yes! Also, he isn’t as forceful as you!” You snarled at him seeing that his hand was still forcefully holding your wrist.
There was a moment of silence that fell between the two of you. Peter then gave you a cheeky smile as he circled around you, looking at you from head to toe. “So you obviously know who I am, but you never mentioned your name.”
“Yeah, I know. There’s a reason for that.” You said tediously. “For all I know you could be some weird baby faced rapist. And you say your Peter Pan but you never shown me you could fly.”
Peter laughed and carefully grabbed your hand. You tried your hardest not to blush so you looked away. There was some sort of magical aura you got when just being around Pan. Peter cupped your chin and looked deeply into your beautiful E/c eyes. Peter couldn’t help but smile at you, for you were different from anyone he has met on this island. In fact, he quite enjoyed your witty and sarcastic remarks.
“Perhaps if you stay awhile I could teach you to fly.” He said leaning in closer to you.
You were surprised at how close he got to you. But oh, how you loved a good challenge yourself. You pushed him back a little and chuckled to yourself. “It’s not that hard, all you need is faith, trust and Pixie Dust.”
He was baffled at how much you knew about his world let alone the Pixie Dust. “Yes, that is true. But you’re forgetting one major ingredient love.”
His smile was contagious.
“And what might that be?”
He wrapped his hand tighter around yours pulling you back into him. “You have to believe.” he whispered softly in your ear.
You couldn’t help but laugh as you stared into those green eyes. “And if I don’t?” You whispered back.
Pan looked down and smiled, then once again, his eyes met yours. A soft wind blew against your face and within that moment you realized that both you and Pan were soaring high above the clouds. The cool night air brushed your hair back. To be quite honest you were scared and you gripped on to Pan for dear life. He took flew you around the entire island pointing out the echo caves, and Skull Rock. It was like out of a dream. You couldn’t help but feel overjoyed by this feeling.
Pan then landed on a near by tree setting you down gently. His movements were quick and swift. He sat down beside you and watched you with pure satisfaction. The tree you sat on showed a good view of the island and you couldn’t help but be in awe. It was like out of a fairytale. Your gaze drifted over to the boy who’s eyes were already set on you. You blushed.
“Do you believe me now?” He whispered.
You shrugged your shoulders, “Eh I suppose…”
Peter rolled his eyes at you and got up from his spot. “What else do I have to do to get you to believe? I took you around my island, showed you that I could fly, what more is there?” His voice shook the tree.
You were baffled by his sudden outburst. A quick smile slowly appeared on your face. “You tell me.”
Pan looked at you his eyes now becoming softer than they once were. He then smiled at you and took you by the hand. “Come on lass,” he said with a soft voice, “Let’s play!”