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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #2293632
A swing tempts an old person to a last fling of youth. Winner of Personify Writing Contest

I see the longing in your eye.

And don’t think that I cannot feel the same. We both have memories of motion, the wind blowing in our smiling faces, with only my ties to earth holding us within the arc of our travel toward the sky. Yes, there was that faint frisson of fear as your excitement drove us ever higher and higher, and that weightless moment as we hovered between ascent and the downward rush to embrace repeat.

Remember how you leaned back, pulling on the ropes, to force acceleration, with gravity and centrifugal force driving us on to greater heights, that exhilaration as we approached the limits of your daring. That was a time to be alive, heart in the mouth and all care scattered in the speed of our flight, descent, and up again. All these I see reflected in your stance as you gaze upon my silent, still suspension from the branch.

I know what you’re thinking.

The temptation to take one last, irresponsible fling with me is quite apparent. We are both old now and, while your bones creak and muscles ache, my wooden seat is worn and ropes not to be trusted. It might well be the last adventure we take on together, you with your tired heart and me with my ropes frayed and never designed for the weight of adults.

But there’s no one to see or hold you back with “You’ll fall and break a hip,” or “Think of your grandkids.” What they don’t know won’t hurt them and I’ll stay true, if you will. No need to assault the sky or take a dare. Just a gentle swing, back and forth, an offering to the immortality of youth.

Come, take a seat and ease your bones, test the strength of my weathered ropes, hold tight and bounce a little for confidence, feel my resilience and dedication to a single task.

You see? If nothing else, you needed the rest my seat affords. And you know it’s not forgotten, how to begin the motion forward and back, little by little increasing speed, building momentum. The body recalls all this by the touch of my ropes in your hands. So lift the feet and here we go, gentle to and fro, a hymn to the child within. Nothing strenuous, just the motion, forward, back, and on again.

So simple a thing, yet somehow this contains the essence of childhood. Together we played in a dawning world, a world preserved in memory forever. I’ll be your swing if you swing with me.

I saw the longing in your eye.

Word count: 436
For Personify Writing Contest, April 2023
Object of the Month: Swing or swing set.

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