There are a pair of swings in the park down the road that no one ever uses.
It is an unwritten rule that all the locals know. You are not supposed to swing on the swings.
But on Monday, a girl from out of town arrived and started to swing. Curls flying. Legs kicking.
And the rest of us stood and watched. This blur of yellow and blue and white swinging back and forth in front of us. A vision of happiness. A martyr of rules.
For thirty seconds we stood and watched. Then she jumped off and walked away.
As the crowd dispersed, I alone remained. Staring at the one of the two swings still swaying slightly. I took a step forward and reached out an arm. Then for some inexplicable reason I looked behind me. Now completely alone except for one lone figure stood at the gate to the park. The girl who swung.
My hand inches away from closing around one of the ropes froze.
Slowly, I lowered my arm until my hand was in touching distance of the cold rigid plastic of the seat.
With the very tip of my index and middle fingers I pressed down, coming in to contact with the swings for the very first time, and then exerted some small amount of energy through my two digits of choice, and pushed. Almost simultaneously, I turned on the spot and walked away.
I noticed the girl had not stayed to watch whether I would swing. Glancing back at the pair of swings I could see both moving, gliding, through the air. The one on the left, only ever so slightly, the last trace of the girl who swung. The one on the right cutting forcefully through the air.
I smiled and walked through the park gate and back down the road thinking how funny it was that the girl chose to swing herself while I was content to let the swing move alone. Both swings had swung for the first time. One with a girl and one all by itself.
It seemed right that one of the swings was still left formally unused. Why? My smile grew in to a grin. Because people aren’t meant to swing on the pair of swings in the park here.