A creative allegory of the transition from childhood to adulthood.
|The playground whispers reassurances to me that no person can. It is a childish place yet I still feel so welcomed here. The chill air bites at my ears so I don the hood of my jacket and sit in silence on the seesaw and teeter upwards and totter downwards by myself.
The swing set is and always was my favourite. Other teenagers had broken one of them. The leather seat hangs limply and uselessly from only one metal chain. I sit on the undamaged one to guard it like a mother hen. I kick off from the ground and soar for a moment, then fall back again. Rhythmical; pacing back and forth to answer the riddle in my head.
In the middle of the playground, a mouse lies dead. It was so little that is almost escaped my eye. Said my mother, ‘Do not touch dead things; they fester and will riddle you with germs. Do you want to lay sick in bed?’
I fiddle with the chain and grow uneasy. Someone should get rid of the mouse before a child touches it – but whom should I tell? And what would they do with it? A dead mouse could be thrown in a bin or buried. Someone else would throw it in a bin, so I will bury it.
To the side of the playground is a muddy bank by the brown river that glugs thickly like glue. The rains have made the bank slippery. I take off my gloves and notice how white the cold has made my hands. I am reluctant to make them dirty but I know that I must. I can scrub them in the river later, I suppose, and no one will ever know.
I dig a deep hole in the mud. Dirt gets stuck beneath my fingernails and I realise I won’t be able to wash that out. I know with dread that Mother will notice. I finish the grave and I look into it for a moment and wonder if it will be big enough. I tread back to the playground and leave muddy footprints on the rubber surfacing. I take off my red jacket and bundle the dead mouse inside it for warmth. I lower it into the grave and seal it in forever. I don’t know when it died but I am relieved that it is out of the way and safe from harm.