Janice watched as you held on to the ledge of the ice-cream van to see how long you could hold on in that dare game the boys played in the Square and after you jumped off she said isn’t that dangerous? sure it is you replied that’s the point to see how long you can hold on without falling and getting hurt she looked at you and said if Gran saw me doing that she’d tan my behind ah you said

that’s it not to be seen by those grown ups and spoilsports she raised her eyebrows and said maybe but it’s not for me and so you took her hand and went along through the Square and across Bath Terrace and into Jail Park to the swings and slides and such things and you grabbed a swing each and pushed off and you looked at her beside you her hair flowing in the wind her dress billowing as the wind caught it and you said how high can you go? high as I can she said

and she pushed her legs out and then under the seat of the swing getting the rhythm right getting the swing to go higher and higher and you did likewise and you watched as her whole body got into the ride and her hands gripped the metal chains and you saw her legs rise high and her brown sandals and white socks and she said is this high enough? and you said as high as high can go is high and she laughed and pushed her feet right up into the sky and you pushed through the aches and pains of the muscles to reach the highest pinnacle

and she gazed at you and laughed and there was that moment when you thought you saw new stars being born in her smile but then she slowed down and the new stars died out after a while.

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