I watch you through the window, you and your brother, spinning each other on the tire swing. He sits with his butt in the center of the tire, his legs flopped over the side, his hands reaching up to grab the ropes that attach the tire to the tree – trying to steady himself, to keep himself from slipping out. You turn him slowly, wind him until the ropes can twist no more. You give him a push in the other direction just to get him started. The tire turns faster and faster and he outstretches his arms and legs and I’m afraid he’ll be flung off but he is squealing with joy and you are laughing. His pace picks up and he spins and spins and spins, and his curly long hair whips around his face and he spins – until the rope unwinds, energy spent. You switch places.
Being one thing and then another is disorientating. We used to slide through life, so sure nothing would touch us. For so long nothing did. Nothing big anyway. Nothing overwhelming, nothing that shook us, shook me. Until something did, and did so deeply we didn’t know who we were any longer. We changed, you and I. All of us. The smiles had been so bright, like fall leaves floating to the ground, sure of their beauty. But the beauty eventually ends for the leaves as they sit in the grass and wait. Just as the leaves are covered with snow, the snow comes for you too, and when it comes it is heavy and silent and suffocating. And I don’t see the danger in the snow until it has changed us. Made us into something else.
After spinning in the tire, you two move to the swing set. Your legs pump hard to get some momentum going. The arc of the swing increases until you go so high my stomach flutters for you. You try to synchronize your rhythm, synchronize your swinging, and when you do you both yell “We’re married.” You try to hold hands as you swing separately together. Then you both jump. Legs straight and toes pointed, you launch yourselves from the swings. Momentarily you float like those leaves, then stretch your arms in brief wonderful flight. Your landings look effortless and dangerous all at once – you two land at the same time, hitting the ground in controlled crashes, red and orange crinkly leaves scatter around you. You two sit there among the leaves and laugh, and watching through the window, I laugh too, none of us aware of the snow that is waiting to arrive.
Biography: A.L. Gordon is an emerging non-fiction writer and teacher residing in Wisconsin. His work has appeared in The Awakenings Review and Please See Me.