All The Way Round
They stood in the driveway. He put his arm around her. It was kind of awkward, so he took it away.
“This is, yeah…” He gestured vaguely. “This was, like, the coolest place in the world when I was a kid.”
She looked around. “The driveway?”
“Nah. This whole front yard. The sidewalk would get so hot in summer you couldn’t stand on it. The weird tree. The swing.”
“This thing?” They wandered over to the tree. She ran a finger over the plastic swing. Dust and grime.
“It looks old. You used to come out here with your dad?”
Absently, he poked the swing. “Uh, no. With my brother.”
“You have a brother?”
He looked away. “He used to push me on the swing. We used to pretend it was an escape capsule trying to break through the atmosphere. See, it’s got these little handles, like spaceship controls? One day we were gonna flip it all the way around the branch, upside down. That was breaking through the atmosphere. Landing on another planet. It would have been amazing. Man, I used to have dreams about that.”
“I bet you could do it now.” She smiled. “You should call your brother. You could totally flip it over now!”
His face went dark, and he turned away. “Don’t be stupid. Let’s go back in the house.”
“What? What’d I say? I was joking, the swing’s too small, obviously…”
“I’m sorry. Let’s just go inside.”
“I thought this was your favourite place in the world?”
“Yeah.” He shrugged and gave the swing a kick. “It was.”