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Excerpt: Children are from Heaven

The way a tree bends in a storm and limbs appear to be snapping as leaves free themselves.  You hear crackling and the rustling of nature.  By the end of the storm the tree stands tall and leaves begin to face the sky

Mother must have felt like she was part of a storm, and remained sturdy and strong, strong like me right now sitting on this swing, a swing attached to a thick brown rope and a metal bar, at the playground in my school yard.

I am in the school yard and I am flying.  My legs pump hard, faster, harder, faster, and I see I am higher – almost diagonal with the limb of the tree.  I pump harder, harder, until I feel the earth move as the pole holding the swing lifts up and out of the ground whenever my legs curl, and returns into earth as I straighten them.  The pole lifts up and down, up and down, keeping the same momentum as my legs – in and out of the earth as if the pole too had legs.

The girls, my friends in the schoolyard watch me, and whisper in each other’s ear.  The pole continues to lift up and out, up and out of the earth.  When my legs extend and I see my black patent leather shoes are scuffed.  When my legs stretch my head bends forward and my chin touches the flowered pin I attached to my blouse, the pin I stole out of mother’s jewelry box earlier that morning for my school picture.

She won’t know I stole it, wore it without telling her, not until she buys the picture at the end of the year.  My legs stretch out so I am even with the weeping willow, it feels like I will fly over the steeple off in the distance.  My friends are still staring and probably want their turn.  I will let them, stop fast, scrape my heels across loose dirt beneath the swing, raise dust and cover them with sand.  It will teach them to stare.

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