When Pacey was a little boy, he feared two things – marshmallows and swings. There is a saying that you usually fear what you don’t understand. And with Pacey this was exactly the case. He couldn’t understand how marshmallows were made to be so white and so soft, and more than anything so addictive. He just could not get it into his head that this “treat” was considered a global favourite. So he preferred to stay away. As for swings. That was a whole different story. Because every time he sat on one he kept looking up, but not at the sky like most kids his age did while swinging high; no, Pacey kept looking at the hinges holding the swing in place. He was afraid that at any moment, the swing would unhinge from its bars and it would throw Pacey crashing to the ground. And he was afraid.
His parents tried to convince him that he was missing out on the fun things of life by avoiding these two things. But Pacey would not change his mind. Kids can be stubborn. Even more than adults usually are.
Pacey’s father even told him a story about how swings were created in order to draw out the fear from the human soul. He said that if as a child you could dominate a swing, if you could experience that feeling of flying, and if you would constantly want to swing harder, to fly higher, then as an adult you would know how to be ruthless, and how to go after what you wanted; you would know how to take risks and cease the opportunities that come your way.
It did not convince Pacey.
He barely sat on a swing during his entire childhood. And whenever he passed by the park and saw all those kids lining up to sit on one, he would shake his head and simply move on.
Even as an adult, he could not understand children’s addiction to these simple (yet, “unsafe”) objects. He could not even understand his own daughter’s obsession with them. Whenever she ran and sat on one, his sight was constantly glued on the hinges.
His wife would laugh at him. She told him that he needed to relax. To stop living his life in so much fear. Falling off a swing was as random as falling off a ladder, as tripping on a pavement, as pretty much anything as could happen.
When he heard his daughter’s pure, heartfelt laughter whenever she was swinging over his head, calling out that she would catch the birds, that is when he began to understand the meaning of these swings. It all became clear, when his daughter came up to him and explained why she loved them so much: “because swings liberate you. They make you feel like you can fly. Like you are invincible. And if I can’t let go and feel that now, then when am I going to do it? You adults are so uptight!”