This is something I've been thinking about for a long time, inspired by a late night viewing of "Hook" and this passage from Peter Pan,
"Hook heaved a heavy sigh; and I know not why it was, perhaps it was because of the soft beauty of the evening , but there came over him a desire to confide in his faithful bo’sun the story of his life. He spoke long and earnestly, but what it was all about Smee, who was rather stupid, did not know in the least”
Anyway, here goes...
My life did not begin until I came to the Neverland, so it seems unnecessary to document in detail such an uneventful time. Indeed my existence prior to the Neverland seems unreal, and when I cast my mind back it seems difficult to fathom. Before the Neverland it was all dullness, and misery. It was all painful reality that had to be faced over and over again as I grew up. There was no place for adventure, for heroics, for swashing and buckling, there was no place for James Hook, and I felt it keenly. However, if I set my brain in a backwards direction and let it float easily in a general sort of way I find snatches returning and if I very much wish to, I can remember my young adulthood, my adolescence and even my childhood.
As a child I was unpopular and lonely, an outsider throughout my school days. I had a series of health conditions that left me confined to my bedroom for many of my young years. I was more fond of books and poetry than most boys my age, so even the days that I was well I had nothing in common with my peers.
I know that some of you will understand this isolation, and this loneliness, and others will not, and it is impossible to describe completely the pain that comes from alienation from your peers. It becomes easier and easier to stop trying, and to slip deeper and deeper into your own personal Neverland.
Being a thoughtful boy I did well in school but I despised it just the same. I went to university, where I was equally unpopular, and got equally good marks.
As a young man I was unhappy. Not only with my life but with the world in general, and in an act of desperation, I set myself adrift on the sea, in a sort of indirect attempt at suicide. To do anything so definite as to shoot myself seemed extreme and dramatic, even for my tastes, but the sea held romance, and possibility, and mystery. To die at sea was every sailors wish, and if fate wouldn’t cast me to the waves I would cast myself.
With nothing more than three weeks provisions I set myself adrift in a skiff, and figured that if god or fate or destiny wanted me to live they had three weeks to arrange it. As for me, I had washed my hands of the business.
By the fourth week I was still alive, or at least I think I was. I found myself lying on my back and sometimes when I opened my eyes the sky was a bright burning blue, and sometimes it was deep and full of stars, and I soon lost track of time. It may have been five weeks, or years that I drifted on the open sea, and I began to imagine that I had died and I was making my way across the river styx, and even now I’m not entirely sure that I survived.It was Mersa who saved me. It was she who took me to the Neverland. I found myself on the beach of the Mermaid Lagoon. Of course I had no idea who had saved me, or when, or how, only that I found myself grasping at warm sand, and my eyes burned by the brightness of the sun.
I supposed at first that I had landed at last from my long journey across the River Styx; that I had found my way to paradise. In a way I suppose I had. It has been suggested by many that the Neverland is paradise, or a sort of transitory paradise, for people die here too, and maybe then they make their way to real paradise. Perhaps the Neverland is a sort of cosmic waiting room, for lost souls, for no one comes to the Neverland unlost. But perhaps to live without the possibility of that last great adventure is more hell than paradise. but I am no theologian and these speculations are neither here nor there,
When I awoke again it was to the sound of sweet feminine voices pulling me from the faraway dream place where my mind had rested so long. Slowly I opened my eyes. I was afforded only a momentary glimpse, for the Mermaids grew suddenly shy when I awoke, and vanished.
But the loveliest remained. She hair jet black with a green blue sheen, and eyes like the sea.
She was, and remains to this day the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
Beautiful , you must understand, in this particular context refers to a quality beyond a mere pleasing visual aesthetic. It is a poetic use of the word that not all men will understand. It could be argued that her features were not arranged in classical proportions. That she was too pale, her hair to dark, her eyes too clear. Men seem always so eager to find fault in beautiful women, and I reiterate that she is the greatest beauty experienced by James Hook.
I suppose I make a great sentimental fool of myself.
With a sweet smile she gently lifted my head, and brought water to my lips, and I realized how deeply thirsty I was. When I had had my fill I searched for my voice, which seemed trapped somewhere in my throat and I was only able to manage a whisper.
“Where am I?”
and she answered,
“This is the Neverland,”