The swings

Natalia Corres
2 min readOct 11, 2023

The old man seemed to stagger, his legs weak, he made it to the ancient iron swing set. The gray skies and cold wind promised a wintry night and he knew he had to get to shelter, but again, he felt so very weak.

He stood a moment, then reached out to the iron pole to steady himself. Blinking, the sound of laughing children filled his ears, and bright sun shone. Two small girls were swinging higher and higher.

He pulled his hand from the pole, and winter chilled him to the bone. This time he moved to the empty swing and closing his eyes, he sat. “Go higher!” he heard and he opened his eyes to see his own skinny legs pumping like mad, felt the warm sun on his face and arms, and the sheer joy of swinging. He was five or six again, and he laughed as he noticed the sock on his left foot, which always sagged for some reason billow in the whooshing air. “Higher!” a little girl’s voice shouted and he felt the small hand push his back as he pumped his legs.

Looking over his shoulder he saw his older sister, Alice. He frowned remembering that Alice had passed away a few years ago. “Keep pumping, silly Joe” she shouted and he focused again on the swinging and forced the other thoughts from his mind. His only thought was to swing higher and maybe, if he was lucky, swing all the way over the set in one grand circle. He pumped and went higher. And again. And on the zenith of his swing up and over, he heard Alice shriek with joy.

The officers found his cold body after the snow had started. Someone had called in to report that they thought there were children playing on the old swing set. And somewhere Joe and his sister Alice were playing in the summer sun, enjoying the ever after.