The evening breeze lifted the empty swing and gently swayed it in the air. Standing next to the swing, Sirenia stood looking out into the setting sun. "This brings back memories doesn't it? We first met here. You refused to give me back my kamicard and said it was yours."
Her clothes were the same as usual, the same mismatched look that seemed to meld together to form a style completely her own. Never once did she fit in the term generic. But that's how she always was. Sirenia then turned around to look at me and I could see her wearing the rainbow colored shirt I had bought her for her 15th birthday. How they matched her green shorts was unclear, but Sirenia had always been like that.
"I said it was mine but you told me that it was yours. Only when I went home that night did I realize I left it in the starter deck I had gotten for my birthday." I demanded to be brought back to the park the next day so I could return the card. I never doubted that she wouldn't be there, waiting for me.
She smiled then and looked around. "It's been 12 years since then, and this park has stayed the same. The swings remain moving, swaying only from the breeze. The monkey bars have a gap in them yet in the past 10 years no one has bothered to fix it. Only the same local families even bother with this rundown park. But this was our place of meeting, and that makes it better than any other park in this world." She paused and started to walk to the slide.
I gazed out at the setting sun she had looked at. Soon it would be dark, the magic twilight had pressed upon the park would leave with the sun's setting. Sirenia walked toward me then, her hair gently falling around her face. "We've been best friends since that day you came back here looking for me."
I chuckled then "I was crying so much my eyes had turned puffy. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to give you your card back. It wasn't mine and I hadn't known that, but when I figured it out I felt horrible."
Sirenia laughed at me while gently touching the slide. "So many memories lie in this park, when we first told each other our crushes, when I had my first kiss. You warned me I would regret giving something like that up but I hadn't listened." We both laughed slightly, a hollow laugh that didn't have the warmth long forgotten.
"You know, nothing that has happened here I have ever regretted."
It hurt when Sirenia said that. It felt painful, a sharp tug in my heart. I tried to clear my throat but I could still feel that sensation. Something was choking me, restricting my voice and heart. There was something blocking me from letting go of it though. I looked up at Sirenia and she just smiled, like usual. The pain lessened then. "You don't even regret when I ruined your favorite polka dotted dress when we were in fifth grade?"
"Not even that, besides I got you back, I made you stain your favorite pair of jeans."
I frowned then, those had been the best pair of jeans I had ever had. Well, I thought that when I had them. I could see night creeping like a shadow, starting from the edge of the park towards us. Soon it would engulf the whole park, soon it would end.
"Lucia, have you ever wondered what exactly is a miracle. I mean many people say it's when an Angel comes down and touches you, or when you're saved from dying but does it have to be that dramatic?"
She was now sitting on the edge of the "whirly bird" as we called it. How many times had we spun around losing sight of the world but not of each other? So many memories holed up within such a little space. I sat down next to her, two childhood friends with their backs to the sunset. The darkness was now covering the swings; soon it would cover the slide and monkey bars as well.
"I think a miracle is when something unexpected happens that people thought impossible before."
Would that count as a miracle? Sirenia smiled at my answer and started to gently push the whirly bird back and forth, causing us to move in a semi-circle.
"Really? That's all it takes?" She looked down at our feet, contemplating. I knew she had reached her conclusion when her face lit up. Always so easy to read, always so hard to understand. She really hadn't changed one bit in 12 years.
" If that's true then I think the best kind of miracle would be if everyone could smile. Not just the people we know, but the ones we don't as well. If everyone in this world, from Kenya to Australia, from Australia to the United States smiled, even if it was for just the slightest of a second, all at the same time. Don't you think that would be the greatest miracle?" She started to spin the whirly bird, now we no longer stopped in half circles but made the complete journey.
"Doesn't matter if they were sleeping or wide awake, in pain or angry, if everyone in this world just smiled together all at once, for just one second, don't you think anything would be possible?"
She stopped speaking then, and I just continued to listen. I watched her as she murmured my words, "something unexpected that people thought impossible before" and watched as she gave this phrase a lot of thought in her head. I watched how I saw more of the park be engulfed by shadows, losing their place in twilight to darkness. Sirenia had always been a dreamer but her far off look sharpened leaving her looking serious when she stopped looking up at the almost night sky. Her eyes then stared directly into mine. How much could she see?
"That would be the best miracle I think, but for now I just want you to smile. Just because I'm not there to kick your grumpy butt into gear doesn't mean that you shouldn't smile." Her eyes seemed glassy now; I couldn't find the mirth or intensity that they once held only seconds before.
The pain in my chest began again, intensifying to the point that I could only see her face. Or was that because she pushed the whirly bird and now we were spinning fast in circles? It was so dark everywhere but her face. Then I didn't see her face and I saw the car. I saw her running after me after I ran away from the playground. I was so angry that she wanted to leave without telling me. I was her best friend for 12 years, how could she not tell me? Then she pulled me and I remember landing in the playground while the car was screeching to a stop. I felt the burning behind my eyes when her face came again from the mists of my memories. We were at a standstill in the now dark park. Twilight had vanished to be replaced by the everlasting darkness of a world without sun or moon.
"I never regret anything that I've done when it comes to this park. So please, you have to smile Lucia, cause if not how will I be able to? I made the right choice, but you still won't smile. It's been a year now, you can't keep like this." Her eyes looked at me, pleaded with me, but I couldn't get past the fact that she was really here in front of me.
" Don't lose yourself when I gave it my all to save you."
The park was completely dark now and I couldn't see anything other than Sirenia. The magic from twilight was almost completely gone, only slightly hanging in the air.
"Won't you smile for me one last time?" She looked slightly desperate, while I stood motionless. "Please" she whispered. Would I be able to see her again if I smiled? But I already knew the truth when I saw her feet fading into the darkness. The sun had set, the magic was gone.
I could feel my lips turning up into a semi smile. It was painful, but so were the streaks of tears I could feel running down my face. It was cruel but I knew it was what I needed now most of all. How long had it been since I really smiled? I looked up at her, tears blurring my view while my lips cracked from smiling. Her smile was huge, but still it was so hard to see her now. The darkness obscured most of my vision while the tears covered the rest. I felt her hugging me and just barely I thought I heard her softly murmur "the best miracle".
"Lucia, Lucia. Lucia!" Rubbing the grit from my eyes I glared at the nurse. She just smiled apologetically before beginning "visiting hours are going to end in 10 minutes." The nurse then looked away uncomfortably before leaving.
I went over to the sink and splashed some water onto my face. Drying my face, I looked in the mirror in disbelief. My face, such an alien looking face to me now, was smiling. It was slight, but the corners of my lips were drawn up in the slightest fashion. Hesitantly I drew my hands up to touch my lips, and watched the mirror copy my movement. "The best miracle" ran through my head. And then I was crying while my lips still continued to smile. I turned away from the mirror and went to her bed. She had been in a coma since that day she got hit by the car instead of me. Was that really just a dream? But there, something I had never seen when staring in here serene face for answers, was a tilt of her lips.
It was so slight, so little, but there was a change. I could feel the torrent of tears grow stronger as my smile grew wider until I heard the beep. I turned my head to the machine on the left and watched as the numbers did a staggering drop to nothing. Immediately the doctors rushed in while I was rushed out. And yet I couldn't let the smile leave me. Waiting left me time to reflect my dream, consider if it was really a dream. Had she come to talk to me, was I really that pitiful? She had wanted me to smile and she got her wish. But now she could be dying and I still can't stop smiling.
Her mother came first. She had visited earlier but left soon after. Her hair was a mess and she looked panicked while assuring me it was going to be okay. But that was something I had already known. The anger, hurt, shame, hate of being left alive had been pacified by a gentle breeze. Had it been because I had that dream? Even if it wasn't real, the smile won't leave my face. The rest of Sirenia's family had filled the hospital, all with the same anxious looks on their faces. I wonder if I told them what she had told me, would they smile like I do?
The doctor then came in, a mix of apprehension and guilt with shifting eyes "We tried to resuscitate Sirenia but she had already passed. It's a miracle she had held on for as long as she did. Because her body suffered severe damage, even if she were to wake she would have lost the movement of her body." The family looked to her mother, who then looked down, almost as if to gather her courage, before smiling and looking at me "I'm sure this is for the best. She has suffered long enough." The doctor then whispered his "sorry" before leaving the family for a few moments. He would come back to talk the details with her mother later, I assumed.
Sirenia's mother pulled me into a hug while whispering how I had been the best friend to her daughter. The accident was not my fault and I would have done the same for her. I hugged her back before shedding a few stray tears.
Had it been a miracle? Had she known she was going to die and didn't want to leave me forever feeling guilty? If she considered my smile a miracle, and the whole world smiling a miracle that could lead to anything happening, then surely this was her miracle. She looked exactly the same before the accident, her hair all out of place, her clothes mismatched. Not one thing was in place, she was at her most normal. Was she trying to tell me to smile for her? To stop blaming myself and smile for me? Her mother continued to hug me while I silently wished "I'll do my best for you." to Sirenia. I'll keep myself alive instead of just living like I had done for the past year while staying by your side. How could I not when you gave up so much for me.
I smiled then, and said "I'm sure she would want us to be happy and she would kill me for being the way I have been. I'm sorry I've been such a coward when it comes to the incident. But I know better now. I'll be stronger, for Sirenia's sake" For my sake.
She looked taken aback but then smiled mysteriously. "I'm sure that's what she would have wanted. For you to smile, for us to smile."
It's gonna be hard living without you, Sirenia. I can't hold on to the hope that you might come back. But, thank you for enabling me to move forward. You're the best friend a girl could ever have and I'll miss you. I wonder if you even will get these thoughts of mine. But I won't regret anything that happened on that playground either. So don't worry I'm fine, and I think you were right about the miracles. Maybe one day the whole world will smile, it seems possible now that I am.
yea so this came to me when i was half passed out on my couch and delusional at 2 in the morning. I randomly thought about what would happen if everyone in the world would smile. Seriously, have you ever thought about it? If you had the murderers, the convicts, the sufferers, the rich, the poor, the world, just smile, wouldn't you believe anything was possible? Doesn't matter if a person was sleeping or not, just a slight tilt of the lips. Yea random I get it but reviews are loved and tell me what you think of it!