The Playground

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It was getting late. The darkening of the sky and the coming of clouds was imminent, though the sky was still a light blue. The playground, though it was still a place of youth and joy, would soon become sinister. I swayed back and forth on the swing, dragging my feet through the woodchips. Some of them got stuck in my shoe, poking and prodding me through my socks, but I only half noticed. My mind was preoccupied with mulling over that thing that insisted on being in my presence. He monkeyed around on the playground like a little kid, hyperactive and jumping around the equipment with loud whoops in such a way that it made me want to push him off the top of a cliff. You couldn’t tell he’s two years older than me. I glared at him as he slid down the dirty yellow slide on his sneakered feet, then I glanced to my right at my friend. She grasped the chains holding her up loosely and leaned her head on her left hand, her long blond hair spilling down to her lap and her stormy blue eyes mooning at the ape climbing on the kids toys. Her legs pushed weakly at the ground, her swing barely moving and making a quiet squeaking sound. I scoffed, disgruntled with the look she was giving him, and her eyes turned to me.

“Hm?” She murmured distractedly, her eyes still glazed over. “What did you say?” I shook my head.

“Nothin’.” I looked back over at the jungle gym and its intruder, unable to hide my contempt. She followed my gaze and her eyes focused.

“Sorry…” She mumbled, not meeting my eyes. She was regretting bringing me here. I shrugged and tried to wave it off.

“S’fine…” Something in my voice must have convinced her otherwise. She squeezed my shoulder, trying to comfort me in spite of her regret.

“You know, he’s not that bad once you get to know him…” She pleaded, but I gave a short barking laugh and shook my head.

“No thanks…” I started the broke off at the saddened look on her face. “Oh…Sorry…I didn’t mean to-“She interrupted me, dismissing it, but I could see she was hurt.

“It’s okay. I know you two don’t get along very well.” I opened my mouth to say that was an understatement, then thought better of it. She looked at me with a sidelong glance. “I just don’t know why you don’t like each other.” My resentment flared.

“I don’t know why you like him, either!” I blurted. Her face contorted into shock, then anger. I stuttered, dismayed. “No, that’s not…I mean…” She scowled and shook her head at me.

“Why can’t you be polite, at least just a little bit? He is!” I sneered as she got up from the swing angrily and walked over to him without looking back. He grinned up at her and she smiled at him, but I could see the tension that lined her body. I fought back tears when, as if in defiance to our conversation, she reached up to him and…Ugh. I stiffened and turned away, pulling the hood of my sweatshirt over my head. Turning my face away from them, I saw that the sky had turned dark. There were no stars.





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