There was something thrilling about swinging in the park half-drunk well after midnight bathed in moonlight. There was nothing funny but Sid and I were laughing hysterically. Maybe it was the cheap liquor that sloshed around in my diet coke or maybe it was the fact that we used to play on this playground together ten years ago. I wouldn’t have pictured myself this way, and it made me sad, to think about that little girl with the perfectly trimmed hair, shiny shoes and pressed uniform. I laughed wildly now, and Sid looked at me like I was crazy. Who knows, maybe I am crazy.
“Do you remember me?” I asked him. “Like when we were kids?”
He took a swig of his rum and coke and tilted his head back. He was quiet for so long I wondered if he had even heard me. I rested my head against the cool chain link swings holding me up. They squeaked under my weight, echoing against the empty night. A few lights in the houses surrounding the park were still on but most were dark.
“I remember you were sad.” Sid murmered.
I looked at him confused.
“Jesus, Lyla, you were the saddest damn eight year old I knew. Don’t you remember what it was like when you got here?”
I did. I remembered that Sid was the scholarship kid with the dirty sneakers and the paper bag lunch. At the time I thought he was the sad one. But I see now that he was the happiest kid I knew.
“You always had a new story” I recalled aloud. “Something about your brothers, or your dog, I thought it was annoying.”
He shoved me hard, almost knocking me off of the swing. I laughed again trying to right myself. Looking over at Sid I knew somewhere he was still that happy kid.
“I was trying to make you smile.”
We were quiet for a while after that. I wanted to know what he was thinking but I didn’t dare ask him. A car drove by slowly, music rolling out of its open windows. I shivered despite the sticky hear and ran my hands through my wild hair. The grass beneath my feet was starting to become dewy and I knew it was late. Or early. I should make it home before my father wakes up but I didn’t want to move.
“Do you think he’ll come back?” Sid asked. I couldn’t tell if he was talking to me or to God.
“He doesn’t have anything left to come back to.”
“He has you. Fox had you. And me, he loved us.” Sid said, his eyes glassed over and he looked like he was going to cry. This was the Sid I knew, this was drunk, sad, lonely Sid. He tipped his flask back but I knew it was empty.
“Fox just needs some time. But he’ll come back. He always comes back.” I reassured him.
I think about that night with Sid in the park a lot now. Now that I’m older, and healed, or whatever. I wonder if maybe Sid, my happy go lucky best friend spent the rest of his life waiting for Fox to come home.