Thoughts drifting on a swing . . .
Elena strolled through the streets surrounding her apartment without a clear purpose. She’d wanted some fresh air after finishing a troublesome essay, but had no friends to go to – no friends that were not busy with other things, anyway – and no money to spend. So she walked. She didn’t mind being on her own, with no people telling her to stop daydreaming or asking her what she was thinking of. She never did know how to answer when asked that question.
As a child, she’d been honest and mentioned the flying fish and multi-coloured ponies that invaded her thoughts every now and again. But after many a strange look and an uncomfortable answer, she’d learned to keep it simple. “Oh, nothing,” a chuckle and an apologetic smile. Yet the fish and the ponies were still there.
A smile on her face, Elena continued her walk, her feet leading her into the local park. When she noticed the swing in the playground was vacant, she couldn’t help but run over with a grin.
“Ooh, it’s been so long . . .” she mumbled to herself, heart beating as she scanned the surroundings both excited and very aware of the fact that she was a twenty-three-year-old on a swing in a children’s playground.
Up. The grin widens.
Down. That rollercoaster feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Up. Hair in the wind.
Down. Heart racing.
Up. Back to the starting grin, more relaxed now.
Down. What a wonderful day this was . . . the way the sunlight came through the canopy and spread light around.
Up. How the wind made the grass dance and the trees stretch.
Down. Stretch in preparation of a race, maybe? An annual race, that all the trees have been looking forward to for ages.
Up. And the winner will get its bark cleaned by busy birds and bees, and that annoying woodpecker will be removed so the tree can continue its life in peace.
Down. The sky turns into a sea, with cloudy fish and other creatures gliding about, to cheer the trees on. The willow is favourite this year.
Up. They’re about to get started, the cloudy creatures are cheering, the trees are lining up . . .
Down. And they’re off! Look at them go, that grace, that elegance, that –
Elena grips the swing’s chains with force and wide eyes when she hits something. Someone. She gasps, and quickly stills the swing so she can get off under the screeching sound of a crying child.
“Are you okay?” She blinks, still a little lost in the tree race while she kneels next to the inadvertent toddler that had crossed the space too close to the swing. “I’m sorry . . . “ she adds, wincing when the child looks up at her with a helpless stare, red cheeks and a hand on his head.
She scanned the surroundings for any sign of a parent, and let out a relieved breath when a figure approached. After a thousand apologies and an offer to buy the child ice cream, Elena made her way back home, mixed feelings muddling her mind.