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The Not Invisible Kiss

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Like his wife, Mr. George Darling of No. 14 had a kiss that no one ever managed to get. It was tucked away on the left hand corner of
his mouth, small and secretive but not invisible. The tragedy was that, unlike Mrs. Darling's kiss, no one ever even tried to take Mr.
Darling's kiss. Even though it was visible, no one ever saw it. They never even looked for it.


That wasn't always the case however.


Once, like his children, he dreamed of Neverland and pirates and boys and mermaids and flying. At night, the young George Darling had adventures. But they weren't about fighting pirates; no, George dreamed of being a pirate. The youngest boldest pirate to ever sail with Jas. Hook -- that was George Darling's dream.


And then he started to grow up. But strangely enough George didn't stop dreaming of Hook and his crew; it was just that the dreams changed. The figure of Hook, once a comrade at arms and surrogate father figure, became both more menacing and more intimate. Night after night the pirate captain became more human, a real man under those extravagant clothes. And his young cabin boy --for some reason in his dreams George had demoted himself -- got closer to the troubled pirate than anyone else on the Jolly Roger.


Until the night when George, just turned 13 and one half, dreamed that he was bringing in the captain's breakfast and shaving water. And Hook, dressed only in breeches and his dark shirt, which was half open, exposing the greater part of his chest, turned and smiled at the boy. Blushing furiously, George put the tray down, but before he could turn to strop the captain's razor, the one hand Hook still had -- his fine, if a bit calloused, left hand -- reached out and cupped George's chin, pulling him close.


"You have something," Hook said, his voice almost a purr. "There, at the corner of your mouth."


And then Hook's face, fiercely handsome, filled George's vision, and that mouth, firm and framed by a dashing mustache and beard, brushed against George's mouth. Just the faintest brush of lips against lips, right there at the left corner, before George pulled away.


The next day, George put away his books about pirates and started reading his mathematics assignments before bed. Because men in George's world don't kiss other men and he would be a man someday.


George Darling became a man, but the kiss only ever acknowledged in a dream remained, there on the side of his mouth.


And no one ever looked for it.