When I was 4 years old, I had a dream that I was caught up in a net hanging from the mast of the Jolly Roger. Peter Pan wasn’t helping at all, he was flying around in circles up above the mast and being useless, I remember wondering what in Neverland is he doing? But it didn’t matter because that wasn’t you.
You were on deck fighting Captain James Hook without Peter’s gift. You couldn’t fly, you had no fancy coat or feathered hat or ugly beard, just a pair of jeans and a blue button up shirt. When I’m 10, I watch as Robin Williams crawls desperately towards his kids who are remarkably caught up in the same position I was, and Peter Pan has fallen to the deck and stopped flying, he doesn’t know how. He reaches for his daughter, who is blindly convinced that his love is unconditional, and his son who sees through the tainted lense and realizes that he has a problem.
I realize that I am still hanging and I wonder what is taking you so long to find your happy memory and fly up to get me? I look down and see that you didn’t defeat Hook. You became too tired to keep fighting, you called a truce and let Captain Hook recruit another lost boy into his crew who leaves me hanging there and I wait for hours and years before I realize that I am too high up or you are too far below to hear me screaming to you that he is a pirate.
And don’t let Walt Disney fool you, pirates are not all yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, or maybe they are, because you are right there with them. In fact, you’ll bring the glasses and an extra bottle or two while you help them steal the aztec gold, and the face of the Captain you follow smiles against the painted glass in a stance of pride because he knows he has command of you and he smirks as you stumble across the deck and slur the words of allegiance to Captain Morgan.
And you become a pirate. You become too disoriented to remember all the hurt you’ve known and all the hurt you’ve caused, and you are free from all of the laws of the world that demand that you care.
And you can’t say that you are a respectable man of the law because you like that knock-off called Admiral Nelson, no, he is just as guilty. The Interceptor was just as fast as the Black Pearl. He lost his title when he cursed you to this translucent sea, and he will receive due punishment for piracy. They will hang alongside each other, charged with treason against a children’s King. Maybe then you’ll know what it feels like to be left hanging while the person who used to struggle so hard to reach you has given up.
But it's a pirate’s life for you, and one drink is never enough, so you keep on plundering spices and grapes. And one lucky day, you have amazing success, surely you have made your Captain proud?
But you have taken so much that your ship begins to sink from your heavy hoard of stained glass treasure, and you refuse to sacrifice it, so you order your crew to jump overboard and then you are alone.
You don’t want to sink to Davy Jones locker because you know that I, along with all the pirate lords are waiting for you, to tell you that you should have given it up, that one drink was far too many.
I don’t want to live this life of piracy that you cursed me to, and the best thing I can hope for is that the Jolly Roger or the Flying Dutchman or the Black Pearl or whatever will sink, along with the crew and their Captain and the lost boys and you and naive little me. So that I never have to look down and see you with the crew, knocking back bottles of that universally known happy juice that never seemed to have that effect.
So that I can forget about all of the bad, hold on for dear life to the happy memories and remember how to fly just before the mast sinks into the amber sea, and I’ll become Peter Pan.
Flying uselessly in circles going around and around and around and it will never end.