"Hullo, Peter," she replied faintly, squeezing herself as small as possible. Something inside her was crying "Woman, Woman, let go of me."
"Hullo, where is John?" he asked, suddenly missing the third bed.
"John is not here now," she gasped.
"Is Michael asleep?" he asked, with a careless glance at Jane.
"Yes," she answered; and now she felt that she was untrue to Jane as well as to Peter.
"That is not Michael," she said quickly, lest a judgment should fall on her.
Peter looked. "Hullo, is it a new one?"
"Boy or girl?"
Now surely he would understand; but not a bit of it.
"Peter," she said, faltering, "are you expecting me to fly away with you?"
"Of course; that is why I have come." He added a little sternly, "Have you forgotten that this is spring cleaning time?"
She knew it was useless to say that he had let many spring cleaning times pass.
"I can't come," she said apologetically, "I have forgotten how to fly."
"I'll soon teach you again."
"O Peter, don't waste the fairy dust on me."
She had risen; and now at last a fear assailed him. "What is it?" he cried, shrinking.
"I will turn up the light," she said, "and then you can see for yourself."
For almost the only time in his life that I know of, Peter was afraid. "Don't turn up the light," he cried.
She let her hands play in the hair of the tragic boy. She was not a little girl heart-broken about him; she was a grown woman smiling at it all, but they were wet eyed smiles.
Then she turned up the light, and Peter saw. He gave a cry of pain; and when the tall beautiful creature stooped to lift him in her arms he drew back sharply.
"What is it?" he cried again.
She had to tell him.
"I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty. I grew up long ago."
"You promised not to!"
"I couldn't help it. I am a married woman, Peter."
"No, you're not."
"Yes, and the little girl in the bed is my baby."
"No, she's not."
But he supposed she was.
Consciousness results wherever an addictive substance shakes off one of its dependants. Consciousness is imposed by substance in its withdrawal.
A conscious state of awareness is precipitated within any circumstance where a separation is recorded between the subjectively unbearable, and the objectively tolerable. Each particular formation of consciousness records its moment of separation as indicating a finality, a break with an earlier state, but is itself recorded objectively within the continuum as a minor adjustment between registers.
However, an addictive substance's withdrawal is not at all similar to either the occasion of real hunger, or the self-imposition of a 'necessary' suffering (such as self-testing) as both these states deplete and blunt the capacity for affect.
It is also suggested by the addiction model of subjectivity, as presented here, that the dependent subject preserves a proximity to the withdrawn substance as an acute awareness of its absence. For the subject, the substance is still present as a representation in consciousness, just as an image is sometimes retained upon the retina. In the example of Peter Pan, the withdrawal of the substance of childhood has been permanently deferred and this has resulted in the inhibition of Peter’s capacity for consciousness.
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