Henry and I were disappointed to see that our favorite rope swing had been removed. Perhaps it was for the best. After all, it was rather dangerous. Henry had already been launched by it before. We had decided that we could both enjoy the swing if one sat on the seat, while the other held onto the bottom. I probably should have assumed that he lacked the upper body strength to fight gravity. Nevertheless, I was still upset that it was gone. It was probably removed by some concerned adults. Or perhaps a property owner who wanted to avoid lawsuits. But it was a sin to remove it. The swing looked out over Lake Erie, and was attached to a low hanging branch, which had aged some since the swing was first attached to it. It had beared the weight of those who most likely had a difficult time climbing the hill to get the the swing in the first place. It was Henry who noticed that the string had not just been removed, but cut short, and the wood used in a fire. We walked to the crude fire pit and stared at the remains of a once grand form of entertainment. It was almost as if our childhood had been cut short with the string. We sat for a moment in silence, paying tribute to our lost companion. I stood and grabbed a rock, hoping for something entertaining to become apparent along with it. I hurled it into the forest that lined the beach. The rock sailed for a dozen yards or so, hit a tree, and fell into a bush at the base. Suddenly, a figure burst from the bush, alarmed at my unintentional assault. Immediately, I jumped to a conclusion: he had been watching us. Spying. He had cut the swing. The evidence was irrefutable. My brother and I grabbed sticks and chased after him. We sprinted along the boundary between forest and beach, jumping over downed trees and ducking under low branches. We chased the boy until we reached the place where the beach met the village, we were forced to stop and go back. Besides, I had come to my senses and found realized that we had just terrorized a child, who was (most likely) innocent of his convicted crime. Upon our return to the site of the swing, we decided to set some traps to defend ourselves from any potential enemies. We soon realized that it was easier said than done, and walked down to the water’s edge to take a break from our hard work. Unfortunately, the boy had returned. This time, with friends. We ran into the forest, only to be pursued. The hunters had become the hunted. We ran until we came to a wide, shallow, still creek.
“We can lose them here.” I whispered. We moved quietly, jumping across the stones that stood above the surface of the water. Henry stopped.
“Go! What are you doing?” I whispered again, this time, louder than the last. He pointed to a board that was lodged between two rocks, with a nail sticking through one end. I nodded in approval and we worked together to get the board. We might have needed a weapon. It only moved enough to keep us interested. In the distance, the boys ran in our direction, tracking our footprints in the mud. I could hear their excited shouts with each piece of the puzzle that they pieced together. With one final, desperate heave, we removed the board.
We reached the other side and hid behind a log, perhaps making far too much of what would have been a situation without conflict. The kids eventually gave up and meandered away, disappointed by the lack of continued excitement. Henry and I sat behind the log for some time, snickering about the stupidity of the boys. In essence, regaining the part of our childhood we’d thought to be lost.