Heh… I had a solid idea when I saw this pic. That idea is the end of my flash. What took me by surprise was how I got there. I hope you enjoy it.
There was no crunching grass underfoot when Jane ran to the swing, yet it was a crisp autumn day. There was a charge in the air, though; it crackled on the cold breeze, energizing the last leaves on the trees to make their fateful jump; their last hurrah.
Jane had jumped once before, from that very swing she was now running toward. Minutes of swinging higher and higher felt more like hours. Wind rushing her face, whipping her hair in long blonde tendrils, like rays of sunlight, only to hang weightlessly for barely one breath before time sucked her backward to start the cycle over again.
She loved that part the most, the moment when she was suspended in time. Even at the highest point of the backswing, looking down, so far down, gravity doing its best to grab hold even as she held tight to the chains. Most kids squealed in fear if they ever got as high as she did on the swing. She squealed in delight. These were her moments of courage and, for those moments, she’s a superhero; nothing can touch her.
The backswing was where most would clinch their eyes tight, afraid of watching the ground rush toward them, but Jane knew that the ground would never touch her until she was ready; she wouldn’t fall when it was time for her to jump like Mikey had. She wouldn’t let go at the wrong moment, hit the ground at an ungodly speed, and break her arm like Mikey did last month. He was the first one to try jumping out on the new swings, but she knew he’d done it wrong. No, she’d hold on tight and grin and swing higher. Higher. So high that she could touch the sky and everyone would stop and wonder how she did it. Wonder if she would ever stop and come back down to earth again.
Jane hogged the swing during recess. It was her favorite on the playground. When the bell rang signaling the end of class, she was always the first out of the doors, running and racing even the fastest boys, beating them. That was her swing. She’d never jumped out before, but her time was coming. She felt ready. A new seat had been put on after Mikey’s fall—she wouldn’t call it a jump—one that didn’t fold and pinch and hang on to you like the other one. This seat would be easier to fly from.
Jane’s first jump would be so spectacular.
Everyone stood around watching and waiting. She waited until she had gotten the swing at it highest point in the back though even her friends on the ground could see the gleam in her eye when it was the right time. She had a purpose and it was to be the best, and untouchable. She’d jump from the swing, without falling or stumbling. She’d fly before landing on the ground, ending in a run, laughing and would feel so alive.
The air whooshed past Jane with each swing back and forth, and at the pinnacle of that last forward swing, she used all of her momentum and floated, letting go to hang in mid-air for just a moment, as the swing fell back and before the ground began to rush toward her. She reveled in the weightlessness for a split second too long, flying to unseen imaginary lands, and didn’t keep her focus on moving forward, on completing the jump.
Jane had jumped for the first time that day. She had swung higher and jumped from a higher point than she even imagined she would do. She even bested Mikey’s broken arm. The resounding crack reverberated off the school building wall. It was quick; nary a twitch from her twisted body when her neck broke. The day Jane flew.
She has the swing to herself now, whenever she wants. It was moved away from the school playground after that. Too much temptation; too much fear.
Jane runs to the swing, no sound of crunching grass underfoot, or friends cheering her on. But she still has that gleam, a purpose to feel the weightlessness of flight, to feel like a superhero. So the next time you pass a playground and see a swing idly moving sans rider, cheer Jane on.
~2015 Deidre Meyrick
count: 725 (I went so over, but I couldn’t help it this time.)
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As always, be sure to check out the rest of the flashes by visiting the group Facebook page. Have a great week everyone! ~Deidre