• The swing creaked back and forth slowly, letting out low, squeaking groans in protest of the weight it was forced to carry, and the young woman went with it, her feet planted firmly on the ground as she pushed herself forwards and backwards. Her face was hidden by a cascade of unruly, dark curls, hiding green eyes that drilled into the ground and masked her pale, firm lips. Each of her child-like hands clenched the chains tightly, her knuckles turning white. She held on so tightly; she held them so she wouldn’t fall. Around her children played, slid, ran, and laughed, yet kept their distance. They kept their distance from the strange woman on the swing.

    Her skirt went up slightly when she went forward, and when it did a large, circular bruise peaked out on a milky white thigh. When she went backwards, the skirt covered it once more in an endless game of peak-a-boo. Back and forth, back and forth… How long had she been there? It didn’t matter, anyway. No one cared either. The world just went on without her as people passed her by in cars and on the sidewalk. Maybe a little glance in her direction, but nothing more. Their lives went on without ever knowing who she was or listening to her stories. Life went on the same as it always did without ever speaking to that strange woman on the swing.

    Night fell, slow and sluggish, it began to take over the day. The redness of a setting sun covered everything in its last goodbye before disappearing into the horizon. The children left long ago, ushered off by their mothers for dinner and the people that walked the sidewalks lessened. Yet she stayed, gently swinging back and forth, back and forth, eyes trained on the ground, hair obscuring her face, skirt swaying… Back and forth, and the creaks and groans of the swing answered her movements every time without fail. Her shadow kept her company all this time, and grew longer as the sun moved and lowered into the mountains. Soon, her shadow left her, too, and joined into the darkness of the night. So she swung alone in the darkness, the creaks and groans louder in the calmness of night. Sometimes couples passed by, laughing at some private joke and huddling together in the cold as they went to so undetermined destination. They saw her, but didn’t. They saw the odd woman, black curls, and tiny hands, yet not a one saw her. They passed by her, as a feminine laugh echoed into the night, and they never thought about her again, that strange woman on the swing. Not once, or ever.

    When night became far too sad, the woman ended her pendulum. Her heels scraped into dirt, and she stood, leaving little foot prints in the sand with a dainty foot. Footprints followed her as she walked to the streets, and those too left her as she stepped onto the concrete side walk. She paused there for a long moment, and let the wind blow the curls off her face, no longer afraid of hiding her bruise stained face in the darkness. She savored the feeling of the wind one last time; how she loved the wind. She went forward, unsure yet with finality, and left the playground behind. Not much longer, she disappeared into the night. She disappeared like she was never there.

    That night, she died.

    But the world went on, and the people who were the last to see her alive went on living, never knowing or caring. Her stories went unheard.