swift – opening words..

A dot in the sky, a fly, a swift, a fly in the eye, the swift is so high, the blue sky, the sun so hot she can see summer dust hanging in the air. A single cloud, small and fluffy, a little dog running across the sky. The smell of grass.

She waits for the next cloud, watches to see the little dog change shape. School holidays, both parents at work, there’s nothing in the world to do other than wait for the cloud to change shape. The breeze is soft and warm. She lies near the silver birch, in the first patch of sun beyond its flimsy shade.

Her father, Ben, had planted the silver birch for her. Oh, she says, oh if I was a tree, I’d definitely be a silver birch. The slim silvery trunk, the small graceful leaves, she would love to be a silver birch. Even though the tree’s younger than her, she can see it as a graceful elegant older sister, a slim beauty who would explain the complexities of life to her. Ben loves the tree too, anxiously watching its slow growth, wondering if there would be room for the roots by the hedge, venturing up the garden in the darkest cold of winter to see if the tender sapling is surviving the cold winter.

The earth against her body is hard from the long dry summer, lumpy but not uncomfortable, warm and dry. The sun is hot against her skin. She’s too hot in fact, but doesn’t want to move, not now, not with the sun and the breeze and the dots of swift and swallow vanishing up into the sky.

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