Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Prompt: Return to the Playground

Jenny was swinging with her eyes closed. Her hands were linked, the metal links of the chains tucked in her elbows. Her thighs bunched as she swung her legs straight out, then tucked under. She could feel the breeze against her face, ears, the space open against her back, her front, as she swung in high arches.

She opened her eyes. This was her old playground. She held her legs still and slowed her swinging, taking everything in. It looked exactly the same. The sand pit where the boys threw sand at her when she wanted to play with their big trucks and construction toys. The domed jungle gym she used to climb in and out, on top and underneath. The fort with the tall spiral slide and the short straight slide for the little kids. She turned her head to the right. There was her favorite. The roundabout.

Her swinging had slowed to a gentle rocking, and she kicked her legs out and jumped into the wood chips. It was a little harder to manage than when she was ten. But she didn’t fall on her butt, so good. She smiled as she walked to the roundabout. It was painted yellow, chipped and peeling on the metal bars, faded almost to silver on the wooden platform. She climbed on, sat cross-legged, and held on to the bars on either side.

When it started to move, she dropped her head back and felt the Earth spinning beneath her. “Faster,” she breathed.

“I can make it go faster,” a young boy’s voice said.

Jenny’s eyes popped open. Before she could move her head, focus, she snapped them shut again. “Yes, Peter. Make it go faster! As fast as you can!”

He laughed and grunted with effort as he pushed the wheel harder. She heard his feet shuffling in the wood chips. He built momentum until he was running, and she gripped tight to the bars and leaned out, her head still dropped back and her hair flying out behind her. Peter jumped on with a whoop. The ride seemed to last forever. Jenny listened to every creak, every breath that told her Peter was still there. Would she hear a difference this time?

The roundabout spun slower and slower, and Jenny was afraid to wait any longer. “Thank you, Peter,” she said softly.

“You’re welcome.” His voice already sounded far away.

She stayed still until the roundabout creaked its final inch. She sat some more.

A dog barked, and a child called out. Jenny opened her eyes. She was sitting on a park bench, her knees sticking off the edge. She uncrossed her legs and put her feet on the ground. She leaned back and felt the sun-warmed plaque against her shirt. She didn’t need to see the letters. She rose and walked away, feeling the breeze against her cheeks.

Peter James Markham
You will not see me,

So you must have faith.
I wait for the time when
We can soar together again,
Both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart,
…….I will be there.
~Emily Dickinson

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle
ELO, “The Rain Is Falling”
Time writing:
30 minutes
July word count:


  1. Ahhh. A little wistful, a little sad. I had a feeling it was headed in this direction, though I admit, when I got to the round about, my first thought was:

    "ahhh, that Peter (Pan), still charming the ladies"

    I enjoyed my little trip to the playground. Thank you.

    1. Oh, good point. Not intentional. So I would debate whether I wanted to leave that potential reference in, play it up even more, or change the boy's name to remove it altogether. Nice conundrum! Thanks for stopping by!