She sits with her back towards the play apparatus – equipment that at one time brought her much joy. Today it brings only annoyance.
She’d assumed that the park would be empty at this early hour. Rarely did it ever seem to be in use. She’d passed it often on the way to the office, and every time it had been deserted; the children of the estate instead opting to play solitary games indoors, much to the dismay of their parents.
The playground is full of children, and she, hoping for a moment’s quiet reflection, is angry – angry at herself, for she has no other place to go. Today, the playground – a place before so often her sanctuary, a place to retreat from the world and its noise, offered no such solace.
She does not fit here. She does not belong.
She takes a long drag of her cigarette (the only thing in her life that makes her feel like she shows the world that she is an adult) and mulls over the morning’s drama. Her identity tag hangs from her neck, the lanyard a bright red, betraying her inexperience to those in the know. The photograph, compressed and poorly digitised, resembles a girl far happier than the one the pass admits into the office each morning.
She had been so full of optimism back then, back when she had first secured the job. She’d stepped out of college and into the world, confident that she could mould it to her will. She had ideas and self-belief, at least she did so back then.
She was a fool to believe that the world welcomed people like her into it with open arms.
She laughs at the ridiculousness of ‘back then’. ‘Back then’ was a mere three weeks ago. That was the length of time it had taken for the doubts to set in. Doubts she had been rid of since school, doubts that had no place in her future.
She stands. The glee of the playground has become too much to bear. She turns to watch the little ones play awhile, envious of their naivety, and for a long moment, she aches to go back to a time when it was she on the see-saw, she on the swing, she, the girl who had a plan to change the world.