Tire Horse Swing | Teen Ink

Tire Horse Swing

September 20, 2018
By WibblyWobblyMadLib SILVER, Muskogee, Oklahoma
WibblyWobblyMadLib SILVER, Muskogee, Oklahoma
6 articles 0 photos 6 comments

I met her on a Sunday. The churches across the town were letting out, and families were driving home hungry and drowsy. We drove down the streets of the pleasant neighborhood and turned into her drive. I then waited in a box, in the garage, excitedly waiting to surprise her. I listen to the shouts and laughter of her family and preschool friends, and silently peeked out of the box. A jubilant blonde three-year-old bounced in front of her sister’s stroller, wearing a birthday hat, lined with pink feather, her neck enveloped in a matching feather boa.


“Happy Birthday, Beanie!” The infant stared back with dazed eyes, a matching hat slipping off her head. She was completely unaware they were celebrating her first birthday, as well as her older sister’s third birthday. She absently blew a spit bubble.


A man brings a long, brown rope from the back of his truck, as I pop from the box in surprise.


“Surprise!” They call out in unison before singing, “Happy Birthday, Libby and Lilly.”


The young girl they call Libby jumps around in excitement as they throw the rope around the large mulberry tree in the front yard, attaching me to it. I wait expectantly, hoping she will enjoy me. What if she doesn’t like to swing? What if she doesn’t like horses? But all my worries go away as they lift her up into my saddle and give the first push.


Together we fly high, almost touching the leaves of the tree. She clutches me tightly, afraid she might fall. I balance myself, and I make sure not to spin. The ride is as gentle and smooth as it could be. After a minute or maybe two, her bravery presents itself; without a single tremor, she giggles as she stretches out her right hand, attempting to grasp a leaf. When her family tires of pushing us, she happily braids my red, white, and blue rope hair.


“What are you going to name it?” Her family asks. The girl looks pensive for a moment before answering, “His name is Chompy.”


The wind doesn’t blow with the joyful bustle it once did on that Sunday afternoon. As it swirls through the trees, the wind chimes sound more like a Rachmaninov song than anything else. But the sun still shines with the same fervor as it did the day before, and my little girl still loves me with the same passion.


“Do you think she is still a baby in heaven?” She sits limply against my head, stroking my ears. “Maybe now she looks like a big kid.”


I embrace her with my whole being, yet I do not move. This is the only way I can comfort my friend. For she doesn’t yet understand what has truly happened. She does not feel the pain her parents feel. How could they be sad? Beanie is with Jesus now, playing in the clouds.


This was her favorite thing to do when she sat outside with me. She would look up into the sky and imagine slides made of puffy clouds, and clear, blue pools where her sister could swim. Together we would attempt to spot her because she believed her beloved sister was hiding just over the clouds--playing Peek-a-Boo, and that one day she would catch a glimpse of her golden hair or pink face.


She points her finger towards the sky. “That’s a big cloud! I think she’s swimming with Jesus in it right now.”


I glide with the wind, gently rocking her back and forth. I gaze at the clouds with her because I think so too.


It has been ten years since I met my little girl. I’ve watched her mature, and grow, and learn. She no longer fits on my saddle, and my hair is now too stringy to braid. But, she takes me wherever she goes, from house to house. Whether it’s a tall tree in the backyard or a box in the garage, she never abandons me.


I, in turn, never abandon her. I let her sisters ride me like she once did, and I spin them round and round just how they like. I am patient as her brother clambers up the rope that fastens me to the tree like she often tried. Her family has become my family, and we grow together. I have comforted them each during trials and listened when no one else would. Nothing brings me greater joy than the sound of their laughter.


Sometimes my little girl will lean against my craggy exterior, and absentmindedly stroke my ears as she did all those years ago, and together we will watch the clouds. We no longer watch for our sister because we know now that she is somewhere much further than the clouds. Instead, we remember, and we smile.

The author's comments:

This is a story based on when my little sister, Lilly-sometimes refered to as Beanie in the story- passes away. 

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