Everything looks just the same. Just how it was a few summers ago. Time seems to have stood still ever since.
The trees, those shrubs by the seesaw, still green. Pristine. Flowers, so many of them, all bright. This burst of colors still hits you as you pass through the gates. Red, yellow, orange, purple, pink and white, all at once. All together, all still beautiful.
This playground reverberates with innocence today just like it did back then. Children running around, playing, crying, talking. The sounds still so sweet and full of promise. Faces full of joy. And at every few steps; mothers, nannies and sometimes fathers too, stand, keeping a watchful eye on their children. And then those couples in love, spending some precious moments together. A playground full of memories this, full of warmth and love.
I can't believe it still feels the same today, that you are here with me.
It might as well be so actually. It might as well be that you and I have been here all along. Never left. Never.
Your laughter, as I pushed you on the swing, still soothes my ears. I can still hear you in this lovely enclosure. Yes, I can.
The swing. Yes, where is that swing you so loved? Where?
Oh, there it is. Just the same. I can still take a whiff of your scent if I stand next to it, you know?
Molly's swing they called it, for you never allowed anyone near it in your presence. Yes, even ignoring those stares from the children's mothers. Well, looks like in your absence too, it continues to be Molly's swing. Your swing.
I can't help but look for you. My eyes wander in search of your familiar face. Your long curly tresses, your dimpled cheeks, and your endearing smile. I love you so much that without you, days are just minutes waiting to pass. Empty and meaningless minutes. An endless wait to see you again. Be with you. Again.
Who would have known, eh Molly? Who would have known that I could fall so hopelessly in love? Those moments with you, especially in this very park surrounded by innocence and joy, were my happiest.
I wish you didn't have to go. I wish we could have stayed here forever, You and I. I wish time had really stood still. Maybe it has for me. I wish it had for you too.
I wish you had never grown up, that you had never left the nest for college.
Oh my darling daughter, I wish you were still a baby. I wish you were here with me.
I know it's very selfish of me to say or even think so but I'm helpless against my heart. I miss you. Never realized how all the time passed by so soon. When did you grow up, love? When did you grow up, chicken?
Remember that summer afternoon, you and I had come to the park for a stroll? Remember?
You in your blue dress and pink ribbons on your pigtails. Your smile from that day, as I pushed you on that swing, is still so vivid in my mind. Etched in my heart and soul really. A smile that reached your eyes and spread to everyone else around you. I can still hear the music in your laughter from that day. So close, almost within my reach. So in the present. Eternal.
Don't ever lose that smile, my darling. Don't ever, no matter what. But if you do, yes, if you do and need to find it again, I will be right here waiting for you by your swing. Your mother will be right by your swing, my dear.
Labels: Short Fiction