: Broken Silence

35°39′N 97°28′W

August 2011

“Why are you leaving me? I can’t believe that this is our last week together,” my friend said softly, swinging back and forth, the metal chains clinking in the silence her words left.

I didn’t respond. No words came to me.

I had grown up coming to Wellington Park, where we now sat watching the end of an era draw near.

June-July 1997

A sign bearing the words, “$1 with a cone top!” greeted neighbors as they made their way to the park on sunny summer afternoons. Selling lemonade is for schmucks; my older brother, aged 6, and I, aged 4, opened up a snow cone stand instead. We didn’t have a piggy bank—we had a metal deposit box. We were serious.

Sept. 1999 - June 2004

In elementary school, we never went home directly after school; getting off the bus and going to the park was a daily ritual. While I was having a great time on the tire swing, my stomach suffered. It tendered its resignation one day after being tossed around one too many times. I threw up in the bushes. It was the most embarrassing thing that my pre-double-digit self had experienced, and I avoided tire swings for the rest of my childhood.


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