He is cold. He left his jacket at home when he rushed out of the house an hour ago. He didn't forget it, he just didn't take the time. It isn't the first time he’s done this. He doubts it will be the last.
The swing next to him creaks as the wind gently pushes it. He comes to this playground when he feels overwhelmed, or hated, or alone. He comes to this playground a lot. It's safe, and pretty. A so-called "happy" place.
Sometimes it's his parents that make him run here. Today it's his friend. It's amazing how much one cruel action from a usually kind person can affect a person. Maybe it's because one would never expect it from them. Maybe it's because it makes one wonder what is so wrong with them that they could have driven such a kind person to it.
He is cold. The chill wind is slithering up his sleeves and down his collar as he sits on the abandoned swingset. Of course it's abandoned now.
He saw the last child leave with their parents a little while ago, when the sun started to set. He knew that their reasons were entirely unrelated, but a tiny voice whispers that they left because of him.
Everyone leaves because of him. They don't like him enough to stay. They don't care enough to stay.
He pushes these thoughts aside, telling himself to be realistic. Those whispers, his doubts, never listen.
He is cold. Truth be told he was cold before he left the house. He was alone before he left. He hates people when they do this to him. When they make him feel so small, so cold... so alone.
Once or twice he wanted to run away. Away from their yelling, away from their bitching, away from their criticism, away from their lies, away from their disappointment, away from their guilt-trips... just away.
He's imagined what would happen when they realize that he’s not coming back. He imagines them crying as they try to find him, wishing that they had been nicer to him, wishing they hadn't said those things, wishing they hadn't...
He imagines a lot of things. But that's all that he does. Imagine. He can never find it in him to act. The furthest he ever got was two streets down from here, before his legs wouldn't move anymore. Before his will was suppressed by the voice in his head.
That whisper that tells him that they won't cry. That they won't come looking. That they won't care. That what he’s always thought is really true.
So he remains on the swing, like he did last week and the week before, his legs frozen in place not only by the fear that if he goes back he will break, but that if he doesn't he will be alone.
He is cold. Not just from the chilly air nipping at his skin, but in that empty place where his heart is supposed to be. He doesn't understand why that happens. He knows that the heart is just something that pumps blood around, and that the poets dramatize everything. This knowledge has never stopped it from hurting though.
His tears leave a cold trail down his cheeks as he realizes that he has to go home soon. He doesn't want them coming here. He doesn't want them in his "happy" place.
But he doesn't want to go back again. Not this time.
He was cold. The playground lies empty, the wind gently pushing at the swings where he once sat. He'll never know if those he left were crying, or looking, or caring...but then again, he'll never wonder about it.
He’s made a new happy place where he will never be cold again.