Planted In Blue by Melissa Llanes Brownlee

Photo by Duo1ze on Unsplash

I get to school early because I want to hop on the tall swing set before anyone else, the shiny blue seat waiting to carry me away. There’s always a line. No one wants to use the baby swings. The only time anyone uses them is when you throw the swing over the top a few times to make the seat so high that when you swing you can jump really far off of it. I throw my brown paper-bag-covered textbooks on the dirt and slide myself on to the seat. I walk backwards as far as the chain will let me, the seat rising almost past my butt and I jump on. As I go forward and make my legs straight, my slippers fly from my feet and I realize I’ve been wearing my brother’s ugly floppy blue and brown spotted ones. My stomach drops. I tuck my feet and swing back. I don’t straighten my legs and I slowly stop moving. No one is there to see me, yet. I stand, my bare feet slapping the dirt. I step up onto the seat and push my body, back and forth. My hands become the chains. My toes are spread wide, planted in blue. My legs go forward. My head goes back. My head goes forward. My legs go back. I keep doing this until I am swimming through the air. I think of nothing else but the brown of the dirt and the blue of the sky.

About The Author

Melissa Llanes Brownlee (she/her), a native Hawaiian writer, living in Japan, has fiction in Milk Candy Review, Claw & Blossom, Bending Genres, (mac)ro(mic), The Daily Drunk, Necessary Fiction, Have Has Had, The Birdseed and elsewhere. She was selected for Best Small Fictions 2021. Hard Skin, her short story collection, will be coming soon from Juventud Press. She tweets @lumchanmfa and talks story at

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