Wendy Darling

“I think Wendy Darling has left the nursery, ” Jenn tells me.
Cayde plays with the neighborhood kids Degan and Madison a lot. (When they’re on rotation at least, with their dad and new step-mom a few doors down). With Degan, Cayde’s at his most imaginative and the boys play elaborate games, often with the eleven-year old Madison curating affairs: ‘You’re the pirate, I’m the mermaid. This backyard is an island and now we have to find the dolphin queen.’ Madison will be in a jumper and will wave a sycamore stick as if it were a wand. (Degan will most likely break something in the process of finding any submarine royalty).
I told Jenn: “Madison is absolutely Wendy from ‘Peter Pan.’
Often I find Cayde and Degan huddled in Cayde’s bedroom over dinosaur books. And they’ll both cheer when they discover—say—that Diplodocus is from North America. It’s like a six-year old rally of: ‘USA! USA!’ Just about dinosaur bones, and not about anything of importance just yet.
Madison keeps a respective distance. Sometimes I find her in our backyard while the boys tumble about. She’ll be in the ‘tree house’, cross-legged, and with her skirt pulled taut over her knees while reading. Other times I find her with Cayde on the stairwell—just talking—and it’s like trespassing on a Wendy Darling session. Madison’s animated in her storytelling and Cayde is a rapt audience. Sometimes Cayde beats Degan six times in a row at Connect Four, loses his paleontologist buddy to a temper-tantrum, and then gains a Wendy.
Cayde and Degan were speeding scooters over the sidewalk today, then kicking balls against the neighbor’s fence and fighting over a game of ‘Mouse Trap.’
“Hey, Cayde—where’s Madison?”
“She doesn’t want to play with us anymore.”
Kinduv makes me sad, and I see Madison sitting on the apartment stairs, surely the girl from the ‘Basil E. Frankweiler’ book. Also Margo Tennenbaum from that movie, with her white plastic sunglasses and far-away look, a book at her side.
I almost expect to here a Nico song play, and I really miss Wendy Darling.

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