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Girl on swing


I spot a glint behind the bed, an shimmer in the darkness. On my knees I reach in, dust clawing at my hair, the metal frame cold against my face. It feels hard and round. I pull it out and blow away the shroud of webs that coat its shiny surface. It’s a ring, a dainty circle of gold too small for my sausage hands. Between lion claws sits an emerald, a hypnotic swirl of greens from a lost lifetime.

The last time I saw it was on a swing. I begged her to push me as hard as she could. Back then I wanted to fly more than anything. Take to the sky and live on a cloud alongside angels.

“You’ll fall,” she said.

But I didn’t mind falling, as long as I could get back up again.

She pushed and I soared towards the V of swallows that flew above our house. They’d swoop one way, and then the other as if playing catch. That day I tried too hard to join them, threw my body carelessly forward and lost my grip. I fell with a thump and couldn’t move, the rattle of the chains muffled against her screams. She sobbed as we waited for the doctor, my back and neck a throb against the cool grass.

“I’m so sorry. So, so sorry baby,” is all she kept saying, over and over.

I got to stay in bed for a month and eat ice-cream. She sat with me all day and all night, even when I told her to go. When I got better she took my place. Time shred her slowly. Into pieces none of us could put back together.

I take the ring and loop it onto my necklace, the weight of it a presence against my chest. Over at the window I rub a peephole through the dirt, and see me and her out there on the swing, being pushed towards the sky.