She stood facing the jungle gym, her thin body casting a skinny shadow onto the blue bars and the red plastic pieces that connected them. They stood there for several minutes: the young girl, breathing hard, clenching her fists, and the terrible jungle gym, so tall and horrible that it represented a rite of passage. Climb to its top, which towered so high that one of the teachers could stand under it without ducking, and earn a playground nickname. The few who had conquered the feat were known as Monkey, Climber and Gym. She hoped to add her name to that list soon. Four-eyes wanted to be rebranded.
Four-eyes pushed back the bright purple glasses that were sliding against her sweaty skin, traveling to the end of her nose. Other kids were watching now. Tattler had seen Four-eyes’ showdown with the jungle gym and had spread word of an attempted climb. Most of the kickball and foursquare games were now on hold as everyone gathered to see Four-eyes try to make history. Four-eyes could feel scores of eyes watching her. She took a deep breath and moved toward the bars. Reaching up, she clasped a warm blue bar in her hand and stepped up onto the twisted steel. She reached again. Stepped again. Reached again. Stepped again. Each reach was a little harder, each step was a little trickier, but Four-eyes pulled herself up and up. Soon she passed the half-way point. Then she was three quarters of the way there. Only one more reach. Only one more step. The children watching held their breath. Her own breath came in gasps. Her small hands sweat. She reached and grasped the last bar. She stepped—
And fell through the open air, into the cage of the jungle gym. She tumbled face first, crushing her glasses against the ground. The cracking sound made by the breaking frames was audible to all of the watching children.
The next day, Four-eyes had bandages on her head and tape on her glasses. She also had a new name—Crack. And Crack was happy. She had succeeded.
Autumn Keiss has published several poems in County Line Magazine and her poems can be found in The National Gallery of Writing and on Times Live website. Her feature articles have appeared in County Line Magazine and The Sulphur Springs News Telegram. She has also she has managed several blogs including citygirlinsd.blogspot.com and capitolhillgang.com.Reviews