Day 9: Swing

Art by Rhett Backstrom | Twitter | Instagram

He’s everything my dad wouldn’t want me to have and Dad doesn’t even know him.

I’m just a really simple person. I’ve always been this way. I grew up simply in the middle of nowhere and wasn’t expecting to have anything interesting happen about me or to me. I didn’t ask for any of this.

My days consist of waking up, doing chores, going to school, working part time, getting home late enough to eat dinner with my family, do homework, repeat. Depending on the season, there may be a sport or workout tossed into the mix to keep things interesting. It’s a cycle that I’m used to, well, until he started appearing.

He was the new kid. I don’t know why I fell for that whole mysterious vibe he had going on, but I did. I talked to him a few times in passing, but I knew things were going to change when he caught me staring at him when someone else was trying to talk to me. Normally I’m not that rude, I promise. It’s just – there’s something about that guy that magnetizes me.

You know me. I’m just a teenager. Wandering eyes and all that stuff that I can’t control. Or don’t want to? I’m not really sure yet.

In the middle of class one time, I asked to use the bathroom and I saw him through an opened door at the end of the hallway, enjoying a cigarette outside. It’s my senior year so I really should be focused and try and take things more seriously, but I was drawn out to where he was like he was some kind of siren singing a beautiful song (see, I paid attention in English).

When I get out the door, it’s like he knew I was coming and he holds out the cigarette.

“Want to share? I only brought one outside.”

Now, I had never smoked in my life and this was made known when I started hacking up a lung upon trying it. I’m more of an average athletic type that doesn’t really freak out over my health, but I’m definitely active.

He laughs at me and I say (like an idiot), “How in the hell do you smoke these things?”

He keeps laughing and I figure I should excuse myself and go back to class. I don’t really focus in school the rest of the day.

That night I’m done with everything for the day and I open my bedroom window. It’s early March and I’m ready to be outside, but it’s still a little bit too cold. I rest my arms on the windowsill and put my chin in them so I can look at the stars.

I’m daydreaming about my future. I got accepted to a couple of schools and I have some decisions to make. I’m only taken out of my thoughts when I hear the swing on the tree in our front yard squeak. It’s old and rusty and always does that when someone sits on it, but no one should be sitting on it right now.

My heart beats faster when I see him. It’s him. I can’t believe it. I run my fingers through my hair as if he can even see me very well from where he’s sitting. He’s smoking a cigarette in my front yard so nonchalantly. I didn’t even know he knew where I live.

Nothing happens. We both stare at the sky, but don’t acknowledge each other.

This happens a few more times where we just kind of coexist from far away and don’t acknowledge each other, until tonight. He clears his throat as if he’s about to say something. He doesn’t, but it does get my attention.

Our eyes lock and he holds up his usual cigarette then points to it like he’s offering me some. I don’t think I’m going to smoke it, but an invite is an invite.

I run through my bathroom on the way down and fix my hair, make sure there’s nothing in my teeth, and give myself some kind of silent pep talk while I stare at myself in the mirror. My heart is beating so fast.

I walk out the front door – my parents don’t really care what I do. There’s not a lot of trouble I can get into out here in the middle of nowhere. I go to the swing he’s sitting at and look down at him.

“Hey,” I try to say casually.

He offers me the cigarette again, but I shake my head. “I’m trying to cut back,” I joke. “One my whole life is enough.”

He rolls his eyes at me, but he’s smiling which I think is a good sign. He laughs. I really like his laugh.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun,” he says looking towards the moon and not to me.

I forget about college, working out, finishing high school, and that it’s a little bit cold outside.

“Show me how,” I respond.

It all started at that old swing.

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