at the swingset

I hear the crunch of dried leaves in the distance, slow and crisp. The creak of chain against aged wood rings out against the wind. I know before looking out my window that she’s there again. I check just to make sure. I’m at a vantage point from the second floor, but I’m still careful not to be seen.

There she sits, upon the wooden swingset, swathed in a warm-colored sarong and sleeveless top. Her barefeet, callused and hard from too many walks down unknown paths, scrape against gravel as she shifts her weight back and forth. Her limp body is like a used rag doll, tired from a life of labor. Her sun-darkened skin is wrinkled with memories of a time I will never know. And yet, something in me stirs – I know her.

As the thought crosses my mind, she stands and glances up in my direction. I duck quickly out of view. As I peak over the windowsill, I see her still gazing upwards. Then I blink, and she’s gone. An empty swing sways in the silence, the only evidence that she was ever there. In that moment, I vow to sit in the swing beside her one day.

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