by Ang Kia Yee

There’s a group of five boys from the primary school opposite my block (which was my primary school) who come every school morning to the swings at the park next to my block. I’ve spotted them a few times before. Now that I’m trying a new morning routine, I’ve been spotting them every day.

There’s something loose about their bodies. The way they are with one another. Sometimes someone pushes the two who are on the swings, sometimes they all watch. Those on the swings do not hoard but fluidly slide off and let the next person have their turn. It’s easy, and they still are boys, chatting endlessly and being a little rough sometimes, and curious, and active. I wonder what it would be like to have a boyhood.

This morning, even though I’m a solid ten floors away from the boys, I feel the need to act less creepy. Stop staring. I look up and out at the other rooms in other blocks with their lights on. I watch the green buses slide away from their stops. I see people walk and run the track, which is still wet from rain. It’s cold.

The boys gather their things and make to leave. They are languid yet brisk, moving as a mass. When they cut across the running track, they hardly give way; the runners and walkers have to navigate their path through this group with speed or agility or grace. They are hardly disruptive or rude but this ease feels striking to me who is always giving way.

As they disappear from sight into a sheltered walkway, I turn back. The emptied swings are still swinging from leftover momentum, loose and languid and brisk.