She lay on her stomach. Pen in hand, journal on the grass. It was still blank. She had hurt herself for her stupidity in thinking that she could write last night. But then here she was again. Alone and trying to write. She scratched her upper right thigh and ignored the burn. She cracked her knuckles and sighed. She lay down her pen and stood. She put her hand on the handmade swing that had been attached to the tree for forever.
She missed when her and her best friend used to come here. They used to walk into town and then come back and sit down here with their flavoured Pump water and orange Tic Tacs and sit on the swing, lay on the hill and talk. They used to talk about everything. They would talk about boys, hair, clothes, bands, friends, movies…
She took her hand off the swing and tasted the bitterness of friendship in her mouth. All of them ditched her in the end. All of them dropped her for someone better. All of them hated her. All of them would probably be relieved if she just ended everything.
She knew a lot of people would say that they would care. But she was talking to a ‘friend’ the other day and the friend had told her-
‘If you killed yourself tonight, I wouldn’t care about you.’
And she knew that her friend was right. No one would care. But she was stronger than that. She wouldn’t do anything that would compromise her life yet. She was strong. Her mind lingered on the one word that changed the whole meaning of the sentence- yet.
Although many people said that she didn’t have a heart- she did. And it felt heavy. Everything seemed to be against her. Her eyes didn’t ever light up anymore. Her mouth barely ever turned upwards into a smile. She felt her eyes tearing up and shook her head.
She wished she was twelve years old and carefree again. And then she looked up and frowned. She remembered. She wasn’t carefree when she was twelve. Hell she hadn’t been carefree since she was five years old. Her heart sank again as she realised that she had been carefree until she started school.
And she thought of the pictures in her room. When she was five; wrapped in a towel, sitting in the sun on her brothers’ laps. They were all smiling. That must have been before they both stopped talking to her. She thought of the picture of her sitting with her mum. She was in a green bikini and couldn’t have been more than seven. She was smiling…sort of. Her hair was white blonde from all the chlorine. She glared at the peaceful sky and licked her lips.
She used to be a swimmer. She learnt to swim just before she turned three and started swimming lessons when she was five. She could swim for forever. Her favourite stroke was butterfly even though that was the one stroke that all the others seemed to despise. Later on she would come to despise it too. Later on she would despise the sport of swimming and its harshness.
Another photo she had was one of her and her dad. Her hair was turning brown. He didn’t have hair. She was hugging him and she was smiling a real smile. She must have been seven then-maybe less. By then, her best friend and neighbour would have come to her house multiple times and then left while she had her back turned. She would cry. What did she do wrong?
By then, she would have already had stitches just above her eyebrow. She was doing cartwheels in the lounge room and hit the TV cabinet. By then, she would have already jumped off a scooter rolling at full speed. She had cuts all down her face and refused to look in the mirror for two weeks.
By then her friend would have told her that the pads in her fingers were ant bites and they would go away within a few weeks. After a month she was scared. The ‘bites’ hadn’t gone away and they were on her toes as well. Later on she laughed at herself for worrying. But she was five and she didn’t know any better.
She took the pen and held it to the paper. She held it there for a long time. Waiting for the right inspiration to come floating past. She wanted to write something heartfelt. She wanted to write something that people would cry over. She wanted to write something that made her feel something. That was a longshot. She barely felt anything anymore.
She brushed her fingers over the rope that held the swing one last time before packing her things away and walking away. She would again return. She wasn’t ready to leave yet. She would be strong. Yes, strong. That was it. She licked her lips as she left and looked back at the swing. It moved a little in the wind and she pictured herself on it when she was younger and then pictured herself and her best friend sitting on it together.
She laughed for the first time in a long time after thinking of that. She laughed because she knew that that would never ever happen again.