Fiction in Five Hundred

This prompt comes from A character is moving to another city. She visits her favourite public place and sees something that makes her want to stay. Describe this in 500 words.

As she sat on the swing at the park three blocks from her house, a feeling of loss overwhelmed her. She had been to that park a thousand times. Now she was moving a thousand miles away. She didn’t know when she’d ever sit on those swings again. Even as a teenager, the park was her safe haven, a place of solitude against the rest of the world. She could leave her home and return to the park at any time. It held memories of her childhood. The hill across the way had been her favorite place to go sledding. Falling from the monkey bars had caused her first broken bone. She had even received her first kiss under the purple slide.

Rising from the swing, she wandered across the park until she found herself under the slide. She closed her eyes and pictured Tony Marshall, a boy she hadn’t thought about in two years. He had moved away shortly after they had broken up, and left all of his memories of her behind. She then crossed to the monkey bars and reached up to touch the metal poles. She didn’t even have to stand on her tiptoes to accomplish this task. At one time, the monkey bars were the greatest obstacle in her life.

Sitting on the steps of the playground, she bowed her head, placing it in her hands. Tears came to her eyes, as memories of her childhood consumed her emotions. How could she leave this place? How could she walk away and leave everything behind, like Tony Marshall had? Would she forget all of her childhood memories? Would she lose contact with her best friends? Would she forget the park, like it would forget her? This park that had become home to other children, roaming the playground. Her absence wouldn’t be missed.

And what was she leaving it for? The intention was to start a new life, to leave everything behind. Was she really capable of doing such a thing? Could she move on and pretend that she didn’t care where her first kiss had taken place or how badly she had hurt her ankle? And what would happen when she started a family of her own? Could she live with the idea of her children growing up in a major city, where there wasn’t a park around the corner to run to? Should those thoughts stop her from moving forward?

She returned to the swings and stared up at the darkening sky. There had been so many nights she had spent under the stars, watching the sky as the world disappeared around her. This place, this town, had been her entire life. She would miss it too much. Home, family, memories were her life, and she wasn’t so willing to let that go. Moving away from home sounded like a dream to an eighteen year old girl, but could she really do that when she wasn’t ready? The world would wait until she was ready.

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