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It’s been days since I sat on the swing in my neighbor’s yard. The old, dirty, wet tire swing hanging from their biggest tree. It used to be Ollie’s. It still is. That’s its name. Ollie’s Swing. The swing is Ollie’s; the shop is mine.
“Olivia, please start living like a human, and come inside! I know you’re upset, we all are. But, enough is enough!” My mother calls from inside. Depressed is more like it, I thought bitterly. Before I go into why I’ve been camping outside, depressed, and annoying my mom, I’m going to start at the beginning…
On my 7th birthday, a new family moved in next door. I ran outside to investigate. A young boy with dark brown hair and what seemed to be blue eyes was holding a spaceship in the air.
“Who said you could enter my domain? For I am the queen today, and this is my kingdom,” I said airily, outstretching my arms.
“Yeah, well this is my new landing area. 10, 9, 8, 7…” he started to count. I humphfed and walked off. My parents asked me who was there.
“Just some dumb boy and his dumb spaceship. He didn’t even say Happy Birthday.” I was disappointed. I had secretly wished for a princess to move in. You know… typical seven year old stuff. My mom chuckled. I frowned. “Maybe they’ll leave and my long lost sister Anastasia will move in,” I was sooo annoying when I was seven.
That Halloween, I went as a cheerleader. The boy next door went as a baseball player. Babe Ruth, to be exact. “Ollie and Olivia will be trick or treating together,” my mom was talking with my daddy. I screamed louder than ever.
“I already told Marc to tell Susan to whisper to Anna to talk to Sammy about trick or treating!” I whined. My mom told me that I was to “bond” with Ollie. To make a long story short, we both got trapped in a haunted house for two hours. We walked in fighting, and came out best friends. The day after that is when Ollie’s dad built the tire swing.
From day one, it was Ollie’s. And mine. We loved it. Every day we would take turns pushing each other. It was a perfect life. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the type of story where we fall in love and live happily ever after in the end. No, it’s much better than that.
Every afternoon that year we played on his swing. We ate cookies, sang songs, and talked about our dream that would soon become real.
June 8 of the next year, our dad’s opened up an ice cream shop. We screamed we they told us. My daddy (I still call him daddy, after all these years) said we could help out, man the soft serve awhile, and name the place. In unison, we sang “Ollie and Olivia’s Ice Cream Dream!” Our dads complimented the name several times. When they finally opened it, Ollie and I handed out flyers to all the kids in our school. The flyers told about, for the first three days, ice cream of any kind would only be a dollar. At the end of that day, we played on the sacred swing, and then ran to the shop. Sure enough, the place was packed. We rushed through the crowd to our parents. They showed us how work the soft serve machine. Ollie’s dad told some moody teen to get lost, it was our turn.
We ended that day with over $100. It was a success. This cycle went on for days, weeks until the flow slowed down a bit. We returned to our swing.
At the beginning of 4th grade, Ollie granted me with a present. He had chipped off two shards from the swing. “Instead of friendship necklaces, we’ll have these.” He explained. I hugged him tight. God, I loved Ollie. He was my best friend.
We made it to sixth grade okay, but then something began to happen to Ollie. His usual athleticism stopped, he slowed down and grew tired all of the time. When Ollie stopped breathing in class, I knew what had happened. I whipped out my cell phone and dialed 911. The ambulance came for him; I came too. Ollie was rushed to the emergency room. He ended up fine, until the doctor ran blood tests on him. Ollie had leg cancer. He had had it for 2 months.
I cried shamelessly when I heard. Ollie winced when the doctor spat out the word cancer.
After that night, Ollie went to chemo all the time. Most nights I sat on his swing alone. When he was well, we played on his swing, just like we used to. We started to laugh and joke around, but then a lock of his beautiful hair fell to the ground. We stared at it for a long, long time. All was silent until…
“Ima goin bald! Ah shucks, fellers. You ain’t gotta do this ter me!” Ollie did a hillbilly imitation. We laughed.
Years passed, and then we were 15. Ollie had been healthy for years. In fact, he led his baseball team to “The World Series.” For the entire year he was healthy. The next year, however, was different.
A month after my sweet sixteen party, Ollie and I were on his porch, drinking lemonade and talking. then he closed his eyes a little. He woke up quickly, and told me we should play on his swing. I smiled and said why not. Ollie went first. I pushed him higher and higher. A smile spread wide across his face. He asked me to stop the swing. When it stopped, he looked me straight in the eye.
“Olivia, you are my best friend in the whole wide world. I hope you know that.” He said quietly. I nodded, choking back tears. He gripped my hand, and then his hand went limp.
Ollie, my best friend in the entire universe,
His mother came home, and walked out, a cheery smile on her face. It dropped immediately when she saw us. She knew what had happened. I could hear her sobs coming from the kitchen.
I went to Ollie’s room and found a note book that read Ollie in a messy scrawl. I opened it to the last page and read.
I can feel myself growing weaker. From now on, I will sit on the swing every day. If I go, I want to leave being in a happy place. To Olivia, I leave the shop, my iPod, this notebook, our scrapbook, the Harry Potter book I borrowed years ago, My nature collections, Box ‘o’ randomness, and finally the swing. I also want her to have this. I found this in Hawaii. I know it is the one she doesn’t have yet. Hopefully I will write more, but if not, let it be known that no one will every replace Olivia, for she is amazing in every way.
To the world,
In the page of the notebook, was a slightly crushed flower, who’s petals were orange-pink in color. He left me everything that was close to his heart. I cried. But then I realized there was writing on the back.
If and when I go, I do not want to be buried in some graveyard. I want my ashes to be placed in the ground under the swing.
There is always a wish for anyone who needs it- Ollie
In that page was a dandelion, Ollie’s wish.
It is exactly one year today from Ollie’s death. We did as he asked. His ashes are under the swing. I camped out in my backyard every night for a month now, so I can remember the moment forever. I sit on the swing, and take out my “friendship bracelet,” the piece of the swing. I hold it in my hand, and whisper his name, over and over. His name echoes through the yard. I close my eyes and remember 10 years ago today, when I first met Ollie, the little boy with big dreams.