“Ever So Much More Than Twenty” by Joshua Lewis from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.
Okay, deep breath after the last entry. This one is not going to be nearly so serious. Here we have the story of Michael, father to a teenaged daughter and husband to George, a man who suffers from Peter Pan syndrome.
The story’s title, of course, is one of the very best lines from the J. M. Barrie classic. There, it’s delivered by Wendy after Peter Pan’s return following a lengthy absence. This tale has a much happier ending than the original. It would be hard-pressed not to have a happier one. I find the original to be traumatizing. This is a delightful story. It takes all the elements of the original and weaves them into a new tale in the best possible fashion.
At the start of the story George grows so frustrated with Michael that he storms off, never to return, without speaking so much as a word of goodbye to their daughter, Jane. She and Michael persevere, though he is lonely and acutely aware of the passage of time. His little girl is growing up. Soon he will be all alone.
We find out that all her life, Michael has been regaling Jane with stories of his own childhood. He spent whole summers exploring the woods across from his childhood home. It was there that he fell in love for the first time, only not with any human boy. The boy Michael fell for was a faerie named Piaras.
Jane is intrigued, so much so that she starts doing research about the old house online. She finds it’s for sale, all but abandoned, horridly rundown, and available for a song. Naturally, Michael buys it, and just as naturally Jane begins tromping around in the woods, looking for her heartsick father’s first love.
No traumatic ending this time. Hoorah.