and who gave me the upgrade?

When he reaches the swings, he merely stands, remembering a girl. She had flaxen hair then, an old word, but accurate. It was midnight when he met her. He was eleven, brave with scraped knees and beginning to believe he was tall. His family had just moved from another city, halfway across the world to this strange neighborhood with foreign flowers lining the walks. His father had built the set from a box brought home from Canadian Tire, the place where they were to get him a bicycle, dad said. It was a hot day, with lemonade and the famous toolkit creating the swing-set like magic from scattered bolts and bars. He had gone to bed sweaty and happy in new Star Wars pyjamas, imagining the kids he would meet.

A sound woke him, it was dark, a blue dark, heavy lit by the moon though the unfamiliar window. The sound came again, blurring oddly from his dreams of being an astronaut into reality. He sat up, kicking his covers off to crouch on his bed under the window. He put his fingers on the sill and peered out between his dirty hands to the yard below. She was there, riding the wind like the purest form of american ghost. A ribbon in her golden hair, amphetamine white kneesocks under a chequered dress, she flew, legs swinging bent then straight to the stars. It was long minutes before he could move again, before he could breath.

He’s out front that house right now, if he looked up he would see the window he watched her from. He hurts inside, thinking how he watched her until she saw him, how she climbed the trestle under his window to whisper to him, “Never tell”, before running away into the perfumed night. His mother is upstairs now, dying. Her skin has grown thin and sickness eats at her from inside. He didn’t have the heart to tell her it was christmas.

who sent me this song?

I’m trying to get all my Livejournal friends’ locations plotted on a map – please add your location starting with this form.
(Get your friends too. I say obey.)

Somehow he skipped the holidays this year. No sleigh-rides up the mountain, no reindeer, no red suits or plum pudding, just silence. He’s sitting out front the house, dark shaggy hair with a green t-shirt and stained blue jeans, one hand idly picking at the blue paint peeling off the wooden steps. The rest of the building is white, an old two-bedroom house put up sometime in the seventies in that brief period when striped awnings were chic. To the side is an old swingset, rusty and disused. He looks at it, remembering how the metal would scream when children tried to pump their legs to the sky. That was years ago. It was a horrible sound, like rabbits crying. He stands, scanning the empty street. There’s no-one to see him pick his way through the uncut grass to the angular bars, the neighborhood seeming to collectively decide that this is the hour for turkey dinner in front of the T.V. He feels taken out of time as he walks in silence. He can hear the grass fold like paper under his feet and on the wind is a snatch of bluegrass from one street over, something he knows but cannot place.