The Empty Swing

swingThe sun had just begun to set and only minutes remained before the park closed for the night. The parents and children were all gathering their things from the day and were on their way out. She opened the gate that stood between the park and the parking lot, and stepped inside.

She heard the children laughing and talking, loudly at first. And then as the distance between she and the children grew, the noise slowly dissipated. In just moments, the park was empty and all that remained, was her.

She walked towards the now empty swings and fought back tears. As the breeze blew, she watched as one single swing began to move. She gasped for a moment as the memories came flooding back.

After a few moments, she blinked and remembered the memory was just that, a memory. Now she stood alone, wishing she weren’t…wishing the precious little girl she so dearly missed would suddenly be there on that swing, calling for her to come swing with her.

Instead, all she heard was the creaking of the one swing as it swayed in the breeze, and all she saw was the sun beginning to set behind the trees.

She walked over to the swings they used to sit on together and felt a twinge in her heart as she sat down.

She closed her eyes and began to swing. The silence engulfed her and she didn’t fight it. For so long she had pushed those feelings aside and tried to forget how deep the pain of their loss went.

People didn’t understand and she didn’t blame them. How could they? This was the sort of pain one could only know had they lived through it. And she knew regardless of how hard they tried, they would never truly know.

She began to swing higher and higher until she came to a sudden stop. The sky had turned from a beautiful orange and red to a blueish black as the sun had almost fully set. It was rather apropos for the way she felt inside.

She glanced to her left at the empty swing. The breeze had stopped and the swing was still. She swallowed hard as she refused to let sorrow have its way. With resilience and hope in her heart, she did something others would have thought strange.

She smiled.

Though the swing was empty now, she had hope that in years to come that would not be the case. One day, we’ll be together again. 

She stood up from her swing. Gently touching the empty one next to her, she whispered to the air, “I’ll always be here for you little one. Don’t ever forget that.”

As she placed her hand in her pocket and began to walk toward the gate, she glanced back at the swings. The breeze had started again, except this time both swings were swaying in unison in the breeze.

She stood still for a moment and felt peace and hope surround her heart like a warm coat.

I won’t give up hope, little one. Someday, we’ll be together again. 

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