Oscar was not awake. Yet.
A warm, musical voice whispered in Oscar’s ear, “Between slumber and wakefulness is where you’ll find me. Always.” Which set Oscar’s sleepy mind to thinking: this voice sounds female; and then to imagining: this female – a rather attractive one at that – sounds curvier and juicier than I’d expect from a fairy tale. But the surprise is a pleasant one, and he smiles a sleepy little smile and rolls out of bed and into the kitchen where his mother is baking a pound cake.
“Oscar, my little hip-hop-hurray! What’s bouncing ’round your brain pan this beautiful morning?” She’s wearing a large terry cloth man’s bathrobe and her favorite red cowboy boots. “I’ll bet something wild and beautiful is going on in there, eh?”
“Well, I think I just figured out why men wake up every morning with erections.”
“And?” The beater whirs.
“It’s Peter Pan’s breath.”
“Well, at least it’s nothing naughty. Your imagination is infinitely more virtuous than any dribble of reality. Tell me more, hon.”
“There’s not much really, only that she waits for me between my being asleep and awake. In tights. She whispers in my ear.”
“Peter Pan’s a she?”
“I’m quite sure!” He didn’t volunteer any more details except to say, “It feels like she breath.”
Oscar’s mother laughed and started the beater.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oscar, you’re a dear.”
“The conviction you maintain to your perceptions and beliefs are precious.”
“What do you mean?”
“I read that story to you every night right after fluffing your pillow, and, well, more often than not, you were fast asleep long before I finished the story. In there, between being awake and being asleep, you heard the story but got the characters into the wrong outfits.”
“Oh yes, hon, but it doesn’t matter.” She stops her batter beating to place a powdered, white hand on either side of Oscar’s head, and kiss him firmly on his forehead.
Oscar blushes and sits quietly staring at the robin’s egg blue linen table cloth. Finally, he asks, “Well, what did I get wrong?”
“Dear, wrong is too severe and mean a word. Inaccurate feels kinder.”
“Okay, so what’d I get inaccurate?”
“Alright, my little love dumpling, I’ll tell you: Peter Pan is a little boy — just like you –and the little, luscious, juicy (How’d Mom know! blushed Oscar) fairy is Tinkerbell, and she is the one that blows promises into your eager, naïve, male-bound, rose petal ear.” And she bops Oscar on his sleepified shaggy dog head with a dough-padded spatula. “But I’d have to agree with you: Tinkerbell is a cutie.”
Oscar, quiet with mild embarrassment, sips his orange juice and watches his mother grease the inside of the pound cake pan, which she does with slow, steady, circular, confident, buttery caresses.
My mom knows a lot, thought Oscar.