I can go the highest on this swing, the one behind the silver birch, out of sight.
I clutch the chain, cool and slippery in my palm like a sardine, and back up on the gritty gravel with the seat behind me, pulling against the springs.
I lean back with all my weight and force, pushing the seat down, and letting the ground go.
The springs wail and cry as I climb higher and higher, squinting up at the shimmering sky, straining all parts, all cells of my body, breathing in and out as I go up and down.
There’s a place.
Here, the chains become loose, the springs go silent, and my arms, legs, and belly are sliding out of the seat, weightless and free.
Here, the sun hugs me. Her vibrant hum thrums in my shoulder blades.
I ride on cotton wool, taste the minty juice of the air, and join a wedge of geese, who warn me about closed windows and sudden metal.
I wave at the moon. A full-teeth smile on the face of the sky, like women have in tampon ads.
And just as I could reach for a swelling plum to wring out a few honey drops onto my tongue, the springs whine again, the chains tighten, and the handrail tugs at my hipbones.
But now, I know something nobody yet knows. I know that one of these newborn, early summer days, the swing will come back empty.
Originally published by Reflex Fiction.