The Fifteen-Year-Old Peter Pan

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The fifteen-year-old had so much class — as did his twelve-year-old brother.

 —  by the time they were twenty they could probably rule nations. —

Multiple passports, multiple nationalities, and multiple identities —

— with perfectly graceful boarding school manners.

I, as a curly-headed teenaged girl — far from home myself — couldn’t be described as jealous — but was rather both proud — and curious — of my new friends.

“Yeah, so –“ blushes the 15-year-old, “My mom said that I could. But – I HAVE to have her permission.”

“Is it legal?” I asked.

He grinned. “Yep.”

He continued, “It’s just like if you own a large property and you want to drive a car.  —

–you may not be able to use the public roads because you need a license, but there is nothing on your property that can stop you from driving your property.”

“Yes –“ I replied, of course I understood THAT, —

“but doesn’t the sky belong to everyone?”  I asked.

He grinned. “That’s why it’s so fun to live somewhere that doesn’t have so many rules yet.”

His mom slowed him down a bit — saying his name slowly, and reminding him to be humble.

He was close to her and they both glowed a bit.  This was one of the few advantages of privilege.

His brother chimed in, “Oh, you could drive on the roads if you wanted to. You just have to know how to negotiate.

His mother cut him short, smiling a knowing smile.  She wasn’t against him telling me.  As a young girl, I was separated from everyone I knew, and I was lonely.  If the mother couldn’t tell me everything, her sons were gracious enough to point out some of the things I was missing.

I was considering a lot of thoughts that had never occurred to me before.  It wasn’t age anymore that qualified you to accomplish goals.  If you had the heart, and the knowledge,  you could approach the challenge.

A fifteen-year-old could fly an airplane and have a pilot’s license – so long as he could properly manage the plane.

And a 12-year-old could learn how to drive if he had a safe space – away from authorities who would stop him.

“Aren’t you scared?” I asked. Even if I  could, I didn’t even wish to fly a plane.

I wondered what else I could do.  If a fifteen-year-old could fly a plane – it seemed like anything could be possible.

His little brother acted kingly and bowed gracefully — before collapsing in a fit of giggles.

I liked these people.

I wanted to be free, like them.

In a developing nation, with fewer rules and greater needs —

–there wasn’t a lot to stop me.

I watched them change their passports.  

“Who am I going to be today?”  He joked.  And even the airline attendant stifled a smile.  

“They moved me up!”  I exclaimed.  Happy to experience class.  The flight attendants were like butlers, and all with British accents.  

“We’re gonna sit in the back this time.”

“See you in London!”  I learned to greet people with a graceful kiss on the cheek, and a nod — or a bow.

If you ever thought developing nations are not congregation centers for some of the world’s greatest creative leadership, and opportunities — you are wrong.

As soon as you board the plane, you are promised a great adventure, and more intellectual knowledge — and subsequent freedom — from rules you didn’t even know you had.

Natural laws govern —  a mother isn’t going to let her child fly a plane if she thinks he isn’t going to keep in in the air.  Trust was something that existed outside of the governing laws.  Responsibilty was knowing which opportunities were wise to take advantage of, and which were not.  

A child — who could be trusted with a great responsiblity, is going to be a dependable leader in the future.

I was a child, too.  And part of these experiences — truly set me free.

“What can I do to pay you back?”  I asked the mother.  

“Help somebody else”.  She smiled, and then pulled me close to her and kissed my cheek.

I started to wonder of all of the things that I could do in a world where — a fifteen-year-old — could fly.

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Author: Ada Nicole

A human rights worker in developing nations.

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