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I'll Never Forget You
I stuck my feet straight out as they pushed through the air, darting towards the sky. My world seemed to go in slow motion as I flew backwards. I buckled my knees under the seat as I began to fall. The playground was dark. A single light shone onto the bark dust and illuminated the night; making it slightly less impossible to see. The light flickered, it was dying. Dying. I continued to swing up and down, my legs pumping. I knew I had control over how fast or how high I went, but I felt unsure, out of control. The light flickered again.
“It’s dying,” I whispered to myself, “You know you have to go tonight. You have to show up.”
The cold air clung to my skin and only escaped as I forced it out of my mouth and back into the night. I pumped faster. As I threw my feet up I caught a glimpse of my shoes. They were worn and tattered. They laid on my feet, as if offering mock protection from the outside world. There was no protection. I pumped faster, harder. The night was quiet. The only sounds came from the squeaking of the swingset and the buzzing from the light. The playground was empty. There were no children playing, running, or laughing. They were all at home, safe in their beds with their parents. I pumped faster, harder, deeper. Then I stopped pumping altogether and just swang. I closed my eyes.
“She’s gone,” I whispered, “She’s actually gone. She’s not coming back. I’m never going to see her again. I’m never going to create new memories with her. I’m never going to show her how to make kim-pop again. She’s not going to come to my birthday party. Birthday, ha! She was barely eighteen. And I have the audacity to continue aging when she can’t.”
I sat silently. The wind gently rocked me. I looked at the field. It seemed as if I had never been there, playing and running. Like all of that wasn’t me. It was just a book or movie that I found. I really wasn’t sixteen, she really wasn’t gone. I started pumping again. My legs moved with force, with desperation. I wasn’t going fast enough. I couldn’t go fast enough!
“Faster, faster,” I cried out of frustration, “Higher, I need to go higher!”
The swingset swayed and moaned under my weight. I pumped faster. I flew up and my feet swung out in front of me, my butt slipped off of the seat and my back caught it on the way down. It was like I was laying on the swing. I pushed my legs down in an effort to try and stop the swing, they were too short to touch the ground. I flew back up. My hands tightened around the chain and I let the swing slow to a stop. I didn't move.
“She was so young,” I choked out.
Tears streamed down my face and memories ran through my head like vintage movies. They made the crying worse.
“Hey Babe,” I said while looking up at the sky, “I miss you, but I know you know that. I guess it was just really shocking. One moment you were dancing and singing, the next you could barely stand. All of the treatment must have been hard on you. I remember when my Papa was going through Chemo. It was hard. I bet you were in a lot of pain. I saw the picture of you in the hospital smiling your gigantic smile. We all thought you were going to live. Not that you didn’t live, but we thought you were going to live longer. Go to college, have kids, dye your gray hair. Though I must admit that you were an awfully cute bald girl.
I don’t want to go tonight. All of those people! I’ve never been to a candlelighting before. Though I bet it will be beautiful. I know a lot of people are going to show up. The facebook page has over a hundred people signed up. Yeah, I know, there’s a facebook page for everything nowadays. This one’s going to be fun though. No adults, that means I’ll get to hear about all of the crazy stuff you did.
It scares me that you are gone. I’m almost seventeen and then next is eighteen. I mean there is no guarantee anyone will make it to eighteen. Or to seventeen for that matter! I know I can’t live my life afraid to die, but I’m afraid to die. What if I die here? What if I never get the chance to leave and do something with my life? Or if I miss that chance, or screw it up? There are no guarantees in life. I’m afraid. Alana said that you told her how you weren’t going to go until you were ready. So I guess you were ready. I'm not ready. Do you really get a choice? I don’t know what we’re going to do now. I miss flying around with you during The Wizard of Oz. You were the best Wicked Witch ever! It’s a shame though that the part didn’t showcase your singing. I loved turning you green backstage. I’m sorry I stained your dress.”
I checked my phone.
“It’s time now. I have to get going if I’m going to make it in time. Please watch over us.”
My body didn’t move. A giant glowing star stood right above me. It was beautiful. My phone began to vibrate and I knew they were wondering where I was. My arms pulled my up to a sittting position and from there I stood up and started to walk away. Fear began to build up in my stomach and I looked back at the swing. It was gently rocking back and forth. I took a deep breath. It’s ok to be afraid.
“Felicia, I’ll never forget you.”