She sits and swings on the lone swing in the playground. I see her there every afternoon walking home from school.
No one uses the playground now except her. The fence is broken and the woodchips on the ground are rotted and slick. Jagged pieces of metal and cement blocks hint slides and monkey bars used to be there. The double rusty swing set with one swing broken and the chains creaking is all that remains against the backdrop of ivy-riddled woods overtaking the land beyond the fence.
When I was a child I used to go there to play. By the time I was walking to middle school and my parents began to yearn for the sea, it was gone, a ruined splotch of earth.
That was when the girl appeared, swinging, swinging, on the fading blue swing.
She watches me with keen eyes hollow with wistfulness. I try to speak to her when I find the courage, but she never answers. I think she is mute. Her silence intimidates me.
The swing creaks. Like my home, it has not fallen apart yet, but it should have.
I stop on the sidewalk one afternoon. I do not want the sea air or crying waves. My parents do. I watch the girl swing. She adds certainty to life. The air is heavy. My heart is heavier. I move tomorrow. My life is packed in a dozen cardboard boxes and a dented old tin.
I watch the girl swing. There is an art to her rocking back and forth. Her feet leave the ground. The swing set collapses. Its rusted legs give way, crumple in on each other, and lie groaning in the wind.
The girl picks herself up slowly. She brushes the woodchips off her knees. She touches the rusted metal and looks at her swing. The chains have snapped off the seat.
She looks up at me.
She slowly fades.
Photo by Lisa Bresler on Unsplash
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