We were right about the seesaw. The bolts holding the plank in place on top had turned scab orange with rust and the paint, light sky blue, had been driven off by the rain and hale, only residue trails left behind in curls..
I pushed back on my stiletto heels, sending the big ache up my calves and into my thighs. Jamie flung a stone at the seesaw and missed. The seesaw bobbed.
‘Time to go’ I said as statement-ly as I could.
‘We should try it.’ Said Jamie. ‘Jim Snr wanted us to try it.’
‘Get on it then’ I said and then I turned my back on the seesaw and looked over at the swings and the roundabout and the climbing frame, all of which were rusty but not warped and split and splintered like the seesaw.
When I turned back, Jamie was crouching over the seat of the seesaw, his white knees shining up past his elbows, his feet splayed and rolling inwards with the effort. His eye was trained on the seat opposite and he looked like nothing more than a dog, shamed and dignified, avoiding my eye.
‘I will not sit with you, Jamie’ I said.
I moved towards the other end of the seesaw and the plastic green panel that served as a seat. I sat abruptly, side-saddle, dumping Jamie lightly into the blue air above.
We settled at the midpoint. My knees gripped on to nothing. Jamie said nothing for the longest time. Two minutes we sat there. I was thinking almost the whole time about the vol-au-vents they’d served, the ones with the chicken and mushroom filling and how special a vol-au-vent always made me feel. And then I thought about eating more vol-au-vents, on a regular basis, because what’s to stop me? Why are they seen as something for a special day only? I think vol-au-vents would be excellent at breakfast, especially. I would fill my vol-au -vents with creamy, creamy is best. And prawns. Why shouldn’t I have prawns in vol-au-vents? At breakfast? I will have prawns in vol-au-vents at breakfast.
‘Thank you’ said Jamie, who had been crying. He started to rise up. I sunk deeper and the ache moved from my knees to my calves again, like lava lamps filled with big pain bubbles.
Jamie held out his hand.
‘I mean it. Thank you for coming to Jim Snr’s Seesaw with me.’
I took hold of his hand, let him lead me away from the park; I would have vol-au-vents everyday, if I kept this up.