It’s summer and the heat of the sun warms my face as I smile up at it. Lydia swings next to me, pigtails whipping around as out legs kick up into the air. I can’t tell if it’s a memory or a dream.
“When I grow up, I’m going to live in a huge mansion,” she informs me.
“That would be nice.”
“I’m gonna have a big kitchen, for lots of parties, and a huge swimming pool in the back yard—and it’s gonna be heated so we can swim any time we want.”
“That would be really fun.” I smile at the thought.
“I’ll be a rich financial advisor and my husband will be a handsome banker and we’ll meet at some finance convention and fall madly in love. We’ll have three or four kids—all boys, or maybe one girl.”
“That’s a lot of kids.”
“You think? How many do you want then?”
Something twists in my stomach. “I don’t know.” Weren’t we still kids? “Isn’t it too early to be thinking about stuff like that?”
“It’s never too early to plan ahead.” She smiles, her face towards the patch of sky ahead of her. She never turns, so I only get her profile. Her white shirt is crisp, even as she leans forward to aid her pumping legs.
“I think living alone could be rather nice.”
“Wouldn’t you get lonely?”
“I get lonely now,” I don’t say.
“I can’t wait to get married and start a big family,” Lydia continues. Her white socks match her white teeth match her white eyes. “It’ll just be grand. I’ll have a huge party to celebrate, and you can be there, and Sara will be there, and Jamie will be there and—"
I look down at my faded purple sneakers as they drag through the mulch. Lydia keeps going on about all the people who will be coming to her future party with her future husband and future kids. Her legs keep pumping and pumping, propelling her higher and higher and higher and higher and higher and higher away.