The Paris Review

Sorry, Peter Pan, We’re Over You

Sabrina Orah Mark’s monthly column, Happily, focuses on fairy tales and motherhood.

On the day before Halloween, my son’s teacher tells me, with the seriousness of a funeral director, that Noah has decided he does not want to be Peter Pan after all. Noah stands close beside her and he is dead serious, too, as if after she breaks the news he will be the one to show me the pine box where Peter Pan now sleeps. The furrow in Noah’s brow deepens and I imagine planting in it ranunculus, heliotrope, chrysanthemum. Flowers we can pick to take with us when we pay our respects to the boy he has chosen not to be. His teacher speaks in a hush. “He’s decided instead…” she says. “Shit,” I think. Unlike Wendy Darling who can sew shadows onto the foot of a boy who will never grow up, I can’t sew. But weeks before I had ordered the whole costume from Etsy: the green felt hat, the quiver

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