'Railing' by Dulcie Few
You walk to the park to wait for Mini. There’s a seesaw that looks like a crocodile and you sit on its face, slumping. You like to sit on the seesaw alone – even though it is uncomfortable – because you think it is poignant. You’re stupid that way.
In the August light the playground equipment looks faulty. Everything has been painted over without ever having been sanded back. It looks like scar tissue; scar tissue on the climbing frame; scar tissue on the swings.
You can see Mini, traipsing over the open parkland, her shoes sinking into the lawn. She teeters and waves.
When she gets to you, there is still enough light to see her face,which is dying under all that make up. Her eyelashes are the worst, each lash looks like a magpies knobbly talon.
But when she looks at you in a certain way you can see through it and she’s just the same as when she was eleven. You remember her then, with white eyelashes that gave her eyes no border at all, that let them spill all over her face. Now they’re totally cordoned off by those dottled railings.
You go for a piss in the bushes and when you get back, Mini’s on the monkey bars, absentmindedly chipping her name into the paint with her key. You haul yourself up and perch beside her. She must be ten layers deep at least and she still hasn’t reached the original steel. “They are gonna paint over this,” you say, “and your name will still be there.”
She looks at you mega wide-eyed and you think you hear one of her eyelashes snapping.