“Second Star to the Right, and Straight on Till Morning”
It had been a long time since I had last seen my mother, a long time since I had wanted to. I was used to thinking of myself as motherless, proud at all I had achieved without her. I would start college this year, accepted on a scholarship, all by myself. The thought brought a smile to my lips, realizing that I was all I really needed in my life. As I refocused on the building ahead of me my smile faltered, if I truly believed that why was I here? Why did I feel the need to see my mother on this momentous occasion. Because she’s your mother, a tiny voice whispers making me almost growl in anger. I stop at the thought looking back at the iron gate, considering like I always did escape.
I remember the first time I came here, my uncle’s hand holding mine tightly as I shivered with the cold. I remember his words as clear as day. “Your mother’s not well, but she’ll be better soon.” As a child I considered those words a promise, and I waited and waited. Even when my uncle went away I still waited. Then I stopped, I was turning thirteen and I realized that she was never getting better. I only had myself to depend on, thinking back to it, it was probably the last time I saw her. Five whole years, it didn’t seem that long ago. Maybe it was the face that this place, always had a way of transforming me into a quivering child who needed her mother. I hated that feeling, it made me feel lost, even though I wasn’t.
I take a deep breath approaching the intimating double doors, convincing myself that this is what I wanted.
Sighing I pushed them in, breathing in the scent of lavenders that seemed to dominate this place.
The nurse’s station was directly in front of me, the nurse a woman I didn’t recognize sat their her eyes trained on her computer. I felt my shoes echo against the floor as I made my way towards her. She looks up just as I arrive before her blue eyes full of genuine concern, a clear giveaway that she belonged here. “Can I help you?” she asks me her voice light. I tuck my chocolate hair behind my ear nervously still wondering if it was too late to flee.
“I’m here to see Wendy Darling,” I tell her, my voice barely more than a whisper.
The nurse’s eyes shine with recognition, her smile increasing with my words, “You must be her daughter, Belle, she speaks about you all the time,” she tells me, standing up to greet me. I eye her warily, not believing her words, my mother despised me she always had.
“That’s me,” I say timidly.
The nurse grabs my hand, “I’m so very glad you’ve come,” she answers sincerely. I don’t answer, what am I to say? I wasn’t glad I had come, every second that passed led me to regret my decision more and more. “She’s still in the same room, should I show you?” the nurse questions after a few seconds releasing my hand.
I shake my head, wanting to be rid of her presence, “No I remember the way,” I inform her, my eyes staring past her to the hall that I knew led to my mother’s room.
“Okay then,” the nurse says, motioning her head towards the door as she takes her seat once again.
I take a step forward before stopping, “H-h-how is she?” I ask hesitating, part of me not sure if I wanted to know.
The nurse smiles again, “She’s a lot better than she’s been in a while, she talks more now, engages with us all,” here the nurse pauses frowning an expression that seems so wrong on her face, “but its probably the most progress she’s ever going to make.” There it was the truth I had to learn myself, she was never getting better.
“I know,” I murmur, walking away unsure of how to take her words.
I hesitate once again at my mother’s door still considering if I could run. Yet I knew I couldn’t I needed this, I had already resolved in my heart that this was the last time I was going to see her, and I needed to say goodbye.
Turning the knob, the door swings open revealing a room that hadn’t changed at all in thirteen years. Mother was sitting on her seat, humming, staring straight at me, yet not registering my presence at all. She didn’t look different, older maybe, but mostly the same.
“Mother,” I call to her, voice louder than it needed to be. She shakes her head at the sound of my voice, her face exploding into happiness as she recognises me.
“Belle,” she exclaims, standing up and pulling me into a hug that threatened to cut off my breathing. I didn’t respond, how could I? All I could remember about my mother is her yelling at me, saying how she wished she never had me, or she would be telling me stories, the stories she now believed were real.
“Hey mother,” I say quietly as she releases me, feeling five years old again.
“How are you? How did you find me? How’s John? Oh and Micheal?” she hits me with a tirade of questions, causing me to frown.
Sometimes I forgot, sometimes when I see her looking so normal, it tricks me into believing she is. Her questions proved the truth, I flinched at the mention of Micheal, her dead brother, last time I was here she blamed me for his death.
“I’m good, Uncle John is too, he told me where you are,” I answer her questions, ignoring the last, and neglecting to mention I had always known where she was. Mother laughed, I used to always think her laugh was the sweetest sound you could ever hear. Listening to it again, I still believed it.
“John he can’t keep a secret Belle, but I’m glad your well and you came to see me. I thought for sure after abandoning you you would hate me. But you don’t you must realize it was for the best, I only did it to keep you from him,” my mother began and I frowned leaning against the wall at her words.
“I know,” I whisper playing into her insanity.
Mother nods flashing her pearly white teeth, “Did Lucinda let you in, for a roommate she is far too kind,” she comments. I figure Lucinda must be the nurse so I simply nod again, unsure if I could speak.
I sigh as mother takes her seat again, her smile fading as if something terrible has occurred to her. I felt tears brimming just at the sight of her like this. So lost. How did someone become like this? “Mother I can here to tell you something, I’m going to college I got accepted on a scholarship,” I boast, my bearing becoming proud I couldn’t help it. Its like she doesn’t hear me, her mind somewhere else, not one word escapes her mouth. I don’t understand how I expected anything different, but I did and I couldn’t stop the disappointment that spread through my body. “Anyway I’m not, I won’t see you again okay,” I say, forcing out the words that I all of a sudden didn’t want to say. She still doesn’t reply her eyes focused on the distance again, lost in another world. I walk towards her, unable to stay here any longer. “Goodbye mum,” I whisper, leaning down to give her a kiss on the cheek. As I straighten back up with lightning speed she grabs my arm pulling me back down.
“He’s coming Belle, the stars their talking, Tink told them about you, don’t you see. The stars told Pan where you are. He knows you’re alive, do you understand Peter Pan’s coming,” she hisses into my ear.
I pull my arm back staggering towards the door, trying not to look in her wild eyes. She couldn’t stop tapping her foot against the floor and her nails clawed against the chair, I had no idea what had happened neither did I want to. I grabbed the door slamming it as I leant against the other side the tears flowing freely. “Never again,” I promise myself, I would never have to see her again after today.
I had planned to take a shower when I got home but I just ended up collapsing on the bed, unable to move instead just lying there trying to forget everything.
I had forgotten how hard it was visiting her, how hard it was to move forward again. I shake my head checking my phone to see a congratulatory text from Uncle John, I smile just a bit. Uncle John was my legal guardian but I could hardly call him anything else. He was never around, he visited two to three times a year at most. By the time I was fourteen he even got rid of my nanny which was fine I preferred to be alone. I knew he had a family back overseas, I had meet them once at Christmas time, but they weren’t exactly fans of mine and I didn’t really like them. His two daughters were beyond spoilt and acted like they were so above me, even though I was five years their senior. After that Uncle John didn’t bother inviting me overseas anymore, not that I minded. I liked Uncle John though, he seemed to get me, which was rare for anyone. I still loved when he came to visit, though the older I got the shorter the stays became. I sent back a thank you and then a request to visit before I left. I only hoped he would indulge me just this once. It felt like I was leaving my old life behind and he was a part of it. I close my eyes, mind swelling with thoughts as I attempted to work through them.
I open my eyes warily darkness crowding my vision, I hadn’t realized I had fallen asleep. I get up unsure what had woken me, but shivered at the cool air. A breeze was flooding through the room and I couldn’t for the life of me remember leaving the window open. I sigh moving to the edge of my bed as I searched for the switch that would turn on my lamp. Smiling in triumph I switched it on, the light just illuminating my area of the room. I jumped back when my eyes flicked to a figure in the opposite corner of the room. It was still dark over there so I could just make out someone. My mind was still tired and I wondered if I was imagining it all. Yet when the figure stepped into the light I knew I wasn’t. A scream escaped my lips as my eyes met with red ones.
The boy must have only been a year or a bit younger than me, but the look in his eyes scared me. It was nothing short of evil, the kind of undeniable badness that was impossible to ignore. I scrambled away from him still screaming as I tried to make my way to the other side of the bed. Yet within seconds he was in front of me, his arm on mine. “Please,” I beg, “don’t hurt me.” I tried to fight against his grip, but his strength was uncanny and before I knew it he had hold of both my arms forcing me up. “Please,” I scream as he pushes me against the open window, I was without a doubt that he was going to kill me, yet I couldn’t understand why.
My progress stops as the breeze blows against my face and my fate is only a mere push away. “Your new life starts here,” the boy whispers in my ear.
“No,” I protest still fighting.
His arm points up to the stars, “Second star to the right and straight on till morning,” he tells me, “That’s where you belong, where you always have Belle, you’re a child of Neverland, you’ll never belong anywhere else.” I gasp, unable to understand wondering if this boy knew my mother, using all the things from her stories. If this was some sort of poetic killing, or if he like her was mad.
“Please this is where I belong, this is where I need to be, my life its just starting don’t you understand,” I beg him.
“Don’t worry about a thing Belle, you’ll be home in no time,” he promises me, giving me a shove that sends me out the window. As my body breaks away from solid ground I close my eyes refusing to watch my descent to the ground, nor to scream.