1.

As the little girl flew over the handle bars of her bike, she knew that this was going to hurt. Although the fear of the landing was very real and seemed slowly to increase as she headed towards the tarmac in slow motion, the flight was exciting and exhilarating. In a way that is only possible when a disaster is about to occur, time slowed down.

She looked at the grass ahead of the tarmac and hoped she made it that far before hitting the ground; she thought about the fact that perhaps her mother had known better when she told her not to use the front brakes on the bike; she saw her brothers watch her flight with a mixture of terror and humour on their faces; and she flew. She flew free and wild, her hair blowing away from her face, the wind in her eyes.

She flew.

And then she hit the ground, mouth first, slamming into the grass and sliding down the hill on her belly. She left a tooth, most of the skin around her mouth, large amounts of her belly skin and almost all of her knees on the grass as she slid and slid and slid. She came to a shuddering halt against the fence at the bottom of the slope, the wire making diamond shapes on her face she wore for hours. Her bike lay bent and twisted against the pavement, her brothers running to help while trying to control their nervous giggles.

2.

The little girl stood on the swing, holding onto the chains tightly. She swung higher and higher, her knees bending as she thrust her body forward. The foreswing offered a view of the tops of trees and the sky; the backswing showed the girl the hard, rough ground beneath her. The wooden swing felt solid and hard to her bare feet, the chain cold in her grasp.

Taking a deep breath, the girl lifted her feet from the swing, hanging onto the chains with white knuckled determination. 1……2…..3…….4…..5….. she counted, watching as the swing and her legs got out of synch. Her hands began to sweat slightly and the grip between them and the chain loosen. She hung on with grim determination as she watched the swing move under her feet and back again, slowing down as she began to slide down the chain. Her palms burning, her knees bent, just before she had to relinquish her grip, her feet found the swing seat and she stood on it. She swung back and forward a few times enjoying the sense of relief before again speeding up, adjusting her grip and bending her knees to gather momentum.

 

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