They had arrived in Warr Park at 12:01pm on a windy Saturday. Lisa, the older of the two sisters, was wearing her favourite hat to keep her hair from going all over the place. Rachel was proud of the long braid her mum helped her to do. Miranda checked her rear mirror before opening the car doors to make sure there weren’t any cars or people coming.
- Maybe this time mum will let me keep the grown-ups swing if I get there first, Rachel thought to herself.
As soon as Miranda unlocked the doors of the car Lisa had the upper hand because she was old enough to jump out of the car by herself. Rachel had to wait for Miranda to unbuckle her from the child’s seat.
Lisa got out of the car and ran as fast as she could, she could hear Rachel in the back screaming,
- Muuuuuum! Let me out, let me out, let me out!
The wind was blowing hard and it threw Lisa’s hat off her head. She was so focused to get to the swing set that she realised her hat was gone only a few steps after losing it. If it wasn’t her favourite hat, she would have kept running.
- Wear this hat during hot days. It says ‘Hello, sunshine” because you’re such a ray of sunshine, honey! Her grandma said when she gave it to her.
She turned around to grab it from the floor and realised Rachel was about to catch up with her. The wind was strong and she had to chase her hat a few steps back. When she finally grabbed it Rachel ran past grinning. With the hat in her right hand, she ran as fast as she could clenching her teeth. Convinced that she was going to get there before her sister did, she ran like never before, and saw the long braid at arm’s length. Without thinking too much, her left hand reached out to it and pulled back as hard as she could.
- Aaaaaaaaaah! Rachel screamed at the top of her lungs.
She wasn’t sure if her braid got tangled in a tree branch… when she realised it was Lisa pulling her back, she could also feel a punch in her stomach, inside of her stomach. She felt betrayed, surprised, angry, but also full of determination. Lisa could feel the determination, so she pulled harder.
Miranda had jumped back in the car. She was looking at recipes on her phone, wondering what would be the best dish to cook for dinner. The music was loud, 4 Non-Blondes – What’s up was on the radio and she was singing out loud and too focused on her mobile to pay attention to the drama happening outside.
Rachel kept running. Lisa kept pulling. She pulled until she felt the tenacity fading away. The betrayal, surprise and anger didn’t fade away, though, they turned into tears. Salty, dense, warm tears blurred the sight of her sister jumping into the swing, winning the grown-ups seat once again.
After adjusting her hat, Lisa started to swing back and forward helping herself with her long legs. She was happy and sad at the same time and she couldn’t understand such a combination of feelings.
While sobbing on the floor, Rachel looked up and saw a flock of magpies flying towards her sister. Shocked by the scene, she stopped crying with her eyes full of tears and her mouth wide open, she couldn’t say a word, she just started to point at them.
Lisa, realising her sister was pointing at the sky looked up, and she immediately made eye contact with the one bird that was flying down directly towards her. She tried to stop the swing and jump away to protect herself. It was all in vain because the magpie was already too close and just about to perch on the words “Hello sunshine”. The flock flew away screaming to celebrate the prize collected from Lisa’s head.
Rachel couldn’t believe what she had just witnessed. She was suddenly so happy and sad at the same time, a new feeling for her.
After just a few moments, Miranda arrived at the scene, she felt like time had frozen, no one and nothing was moving, everything was petrified.
- Girls! Is everything alright?
Their mum’s voice made Lisa and Rachel snap out of their thoughts, they made eye contact with each other and started laughing out loud.
This story was written based on a (possibly) true story at Warr Park in Brunswick, Australia, the land of the Wurundjeri people.