I’m listening to the soundtrack to Hook. It’s not as popular as some children’s flicks. And while it has its moments, it’s not a weepy film. But this theme evokes crying at times; sometimes I even weep. Another ‘aha’ moment came to me the other day. Why I am so moved by this picture. Certainly, John Williams' brilliant score has a lot to do with it, but for me it’s really the subtext of the movie that I’ve created in my mind, no matter what Spielberg’s intent was.
Neverland… another word for it might be Utopia… no place, as in this didn’t exist. For me, and I expect for many others who might read this, there was no place of safety and security. If it wasn’t the many times my parents would argue and scream and yell. In the fifties, neighbors who knew were more likely to pull down their shades and turn up the volume on the Philco Black and White sitting in the corner; pretty much nobody called the police.
And those were some of the better times. Of course I had bright moments like everyone else. But the further I grow away from my past, the harder it has become to remember happy moments. The bad ones grow bigger, if only in my mind, and either push the nice ones out of the way or overshadow and obscure them.
Never growing up can mean a lot of things. To me, in the context of the horror that was pushed upon me, it now means wanting to hold onto childhood as long as possible. Not merely to not grow up, but like some awe-struck enabler, hoping against hope that somehow my childhood would transform into the ones we saw at the Cleavers and the Stones and the Taylor households every week.
That instead of being a victim, I might be a Kitten or a Princess instead of the sad little boy I was. To be Opie’s twin sister instead of the middle brother who got lost in the shuffle but never missed the belt or worse. The idea of giving childhood one more chance?
“Okay….This is it…I’m only giving you one more chance. No more… I’m not joking. I mean it. Only one more chance.”Somehow believing that what was visited upon me and my sister would morph into a tea party around a table filled with dolls and stuffed animals instead of things too horrible to remember and at the same time too easily recalled.
Today, however, it’s one more opportunity to thank God for the life I’ve led; it’s the only one I have, so seeing it as a blessing rather than the curse I thought it was has been very helpful. I’m older and hopefully wiser than I was at nine. And I know more about myself and why things work inside me the way they do. To be a grown up Petra Pan beats the hell out of being a lost boy any day, aye? And who knows? Maybe Wendy will find it in her heart to accept that the boy who never wanted to grow up is somehow still loveable even if we’re both girls inside.