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Story Reunion Stuff! Writing Buddies.

LateMemo

Yup, I'm late.
Triggers: Mentions of abuse
Approx. 1400 words

April 7
4:00 pm

Yellow, rusty blemishes crawled up the slide's ladder and the slide itself looked like it'd been pummeled by a kid Hulk—dented and scuffed and warped by nature. The monkey bars had its bright red paint faded off, its metallic silver dug up by the kids' dangling.

Daniel sat on the swings. A cold wind blew as he backed up then pushed himself off into a swing, the set creaked like those sound effects from horror movies he'd watched. Lisa sat on the swing next to him. He noticed her shiver from the afternoon wind and adjust her jacket to fit her small frame but she never lifted her right arm. The other kids had said their last goodbyes to him before they left with their parents. She wasn't as close to the other kids, he hoped he'd fix that before he had to leave town. The sun was still up yet during Sundays they always leave early and he never knew why, as he was left alone with her.

"So-"

"So," she said.

Daniel couldn't hold back a faint chuckle as he stopped himself mid-swing and watched Lisa smile with a gaze on him. "Sorry, miss So-so, but I wanna go first. No 'buts'."

"'Miss So-so'?" She drew her eyebrows closer together, her eyes reflected her hurt from the nickname.

Daniel scratched his cheek but, nevermind that. "Lift up your arms."

"Why?"

"Can you?"

"Yes."

"Then do it." Daniel tilted his head up, neck exposed. This wasn't the first time Lisa kept herself from playing with the others. Though he'd hate it if he was right on his hunch and what it could mean for all the times she didn't.

"But-"

"No 'buts'."

"Okay ..." She started to lift her left arm first and it went as smooth as expected, then she tried her right. She stopped midway and winced.

"Knew it." Daniel got up from his seat and ran to the edge of the park, he turned around for a moment, "Wait here!"

Daniel sprinted all the way to the nearest 7/11. He'd step on leaves as it crunched on the paved street with occasional cars passing by. There were so many times he'd notice Lisa would act that way —not playing and just sitting on her swing as she watched him play with the other kids— so many times he didn't notice she could have been hurt. He'd regret that he acted only now and he hoped he knew what he had to do. He reached his destination.

"Ice, fast ..." His legs were worked up, but he still had a ton of energy in the tank. He was a runner after all.

"Easy, kid, you're gonna trip and hurt yourself," the guy at the register said as he scanned the barcode on the ice pack.

"Thank you." Daniel pointed his gaze at his name tag, "Arthur?"

"No problem. Just be careful on the way out."

"Thank you, sir Arthur!" Daniel shouted then exited the store. He sprinted back to the playground where he saw Lisa staring at a gift-wrapped present on her lap.

"I'm back."

Daniel sat beside Lisa on her swing, the right side of her jacket removed and the sleeve of her shirt pulled up. There was a large bruise the colour of grapes on her arm. He put a cold ice pack against it. She flinched to the sensation.

"What did your dad hit you with?" Daniel bit his lip as he held the ice pack. There was too much he just ignored and now that he was leaving, what was he supposed to do for her?"

"It was one of those big bottles that adults drink from. I think the adults turn into 'wasted' after."

"Wasted? Like dead? Being shot at by gangsters and police, run over by a car, or exploded on?"

"No, they are very alive, but they do walk really weird and really funny after."

"That's beer!" Daniel shouted, with a gleam in his eyes, proud for having knowledge of the drink.

"You're so smart." Lisa clapped, a wide smile on her face.

"Thank you ..." A flush crept across his cheeks before he looked away. No, he wasn't embarrassed. That dirt on the ground was just interesting.

"Oh!" Lisa lit up like she realized something important she was supposed to do. She held the gift box on her lap and thrust it forward to Daniel. "It's for you."

Daniel's eyes sparkled and gleamed at the gift box. He wanted to run, jump, scream, and whoop it up inside, but he composed himself. He took it and shook it close to his ear, "What's inside?"

"Open it." Lisa made a wide grin.

The temptation was too much to bear so he gave the ice pack to Lisa and picked at the tape wrapping the box.

"Maybe tearing up the gift wrap is faster?"

Daniel nodded, "Sorry, gift wrap, looks like you will never be used again." He tore through it and opened the white box underneath. He found another box with weird etchings but he could see a drawing of a sun. To the side, there was a wind-up.

"Turn it," she said.

He turned and twisted the wind-up and music played. He could see stars, no, sunlight and it was like it was shining for him and him alone. He was on a meadow where the grass, rich in colour as it danced with the winds, embraced the land and the horizon's blue stretched out as far as his dream could reach. But it was like the light was temporary. It was eventually going to disappear. The winds would stop and the grass steadied, it was like time stood still but the sunlight was fading, dimming down into the night. He'd wake up the next day without that day's sunshine shining on him anymore.

"It's called 'You Are My Sunshine'. Pretty cute righ-"

Daniel hugged her. His arms shook in the embrace but he couldn't let go. There was a tightness in his chest that wouldn't loosen up. He wasn't ready to say his goodbyes yet.

"Hey, what's wrong?"

There was nothing he could do as he was right then. He couldn't help her. He just didn't know what to do. Maybe if his family came from money and was alright, he'd ask her to become his sister and live with them. But that was just an ideal dream.

"I wish you were my sister." Daniel closed his eyes.

"Mind calling me 'sis' just once?"

"I promise I'll come back one day, sis."

"Well, I won't stop you."

And then the sun set.


13 years later.
April 7
4:00 pm


Daniel's steps slowed as he approached the playground. There was a slide, monkey bars, and a swing set there, but all of them were newer compared to the playground equipment he remembered from before. These were more polished and shiny.

There was a vibration in Daniel's pocket. He reached for his phone and looked at the screen 'Arthur'.

"Daniel, where are you? You have a concert soon and people are expecting you, don't you dare flake ou-"

Daniel ended the call with a tap of his phone. "Just let me have this moment, geez."

It's been a long while since he came back to that park. He couldn't even remember Lisa's face anymore, but he still remembered he called her his sister. The song stuck with him. It even inspired him to take up music as a profession. It was because of her that he took the path of a musician.

"What are you doing now?" He sat on the swings. A cold wind blew as he backed up then pushed himself off into a swing, the set creaked like those sound effects from horror movies he used to watch. He'd remember the lyrics of the music box, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away."

The swing stopped. His sister sat on the swing next to him. He noticed her shiver from the afternoon wind and adjust her jacket to fit her dainty frame.

"I missed you, sis."
 

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