Not Forgotten

I hate this patch of grass.

It’s not even good grass. It grew in, scraggly and clover-filled, over-seeded carelessly by the new owners and left to fend for itself. I watched as it filled in, obscuring the scar of bare earth that used to be where the kids soared on yellow swings and hauled themselves across the monkey bars and cried because no one would go on the seesaw swing with them and shrieked with laughter, playing Squeeze The Lemon on the bumpy slide as we watched, all in a row, heads cocked, narrow-eyed, holding back, but ready to intervene if one of them looked at us with sudden, panicked eyes.

The grass was worn away by feet sized 3T-big kid 2, trampled by women’s 7s and 9s. Even regular drenchings from water balloon wars weren’t enough to save it and it gave up, leaving a rectangle of hard won, hard-worn earth in its place.

Until that summer.

When the swingset was empty and the silence rang through the neighborhood. A few kids would stop by from time to time and swing for a minute, wondering if it was OK to be there, but no-one was home to care. I just watched them, over the fence, and waited.

That fall, every time I walked out of my front door the empty swing — the one furthest to the right was her favorite — was like a kick in the guts. And then, when they’d all gone, the bare patch of earth was a memorial of sorts.

The next spring’s thin weed-ridden growth was an insult: Life goes on. But this lush coating of green three years later?

I hate it.