I twisted my body to get out of the car and let my feet stretch out to kiss the shimmery black pavement. I kicked the door hard behind me and my ears instantly rang with the screams of children sprinting around the playground, uniting in some kind of chaotic yet graceful dance. I felt the familiarity of the elementary war zone weigh on my shoulders, but I ignored the painful strain and walked onto the uneven gravel. They must have just sprinkled out a fresh layer of gravel because I suddenly felt the fresh scent push through my nostrils and I felt my nose scrunch up in an attempt to block it out. I paced on, slow steps that for some reason punctured my will ever so slightly. I forced one foot to fall in front of the other, over and over again until I reached the swings. The cold black swings swayed back and forth in the wind as if they were haunted with a tragic memory. On the swing to my left I saw a little girl with dead straight black hair that shined in the sun, she stared at the ground as I passed seemingly unnoticed and slowly lowered myself onto the vacant swing. After my bottom settled in the ice cold seat of the swing, I felt her look up and I turned to meet her eyes. As she looked at me I could see that she had short bangs that caressed her gentle complexion. She had chocolate brown wide eyes that were now melting into salty droplets as they burned their trace down her cheeks. Her young eyes now showed signs of wrinkles circling the bottom of them. I looked into her eyes and the anguish hit me so suddenly. As horrible as it sounds, I hated to see that familiar face. It was one that looked as If it was possessed; caged in a world of stolen innocence. Her wide puppy eyes hated me for leaving her alone as I ran away to safety, leaving her behind. Masked behind her disappointment I could hear the sigh of relief her heart gave out as she saw my familiar face, bringing her a slice of reality that noticed and understood her. I tried to look into her eyes with reassurance and tell her it was okay, the monster was gone. I stared into her young eyes as my vision began blurring and I desperately tried to convince her she was safe. But I couldn’t convince her, and I quickly felt my face becoming sticky and wet as the salty taste touched my tongue. I couldn’t even convince myself. So we both sat there remembering what her little heart couldn’t forget.
Bruises on a Young Soul
October 3, 2011