Ruthie thought she wasn’t beautiful like the other girls. She didn’t have the long blonde, curly hair that was popular in her private school. Her hair was straight as a board and a dark brown color that she inherited from her mother. Ruthie thought her hair was the color of mud and lacked any volume. She thought her mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. Ruthie wanted to be just like her mother when she grew up. When her mother was Ruthie’s age, she was always in beauty pageants and won most of them. The only difference between them was the skin color. Ruthie’s mother, Mary, had olive colored skin that tanned so quickly during the summer. Ruthie on the other hand, had skin so pale that it burned and turned red during the summer. She wanted to participate and win in the pageants like her mother, but other girls always won. She has always been jealous of these girls. Ruthie life at home was not the most perfect. Mary was the only family that Ruthie had at home. Her father died when she was a baby, so she never got to know him. Mary told Ruthie about her father and his love of flying. Ruthie dreamed of flying like him one day. She wanted the chance to have the freedom of traveling all over the world.
Ruthie has been obsessed with flying since she was three years old. She would go to the park and go to her favorite swing. This swing was the swing that went the highest and fastest. She imagined that she was flying high above the trees. Everyone in the park could hear her laughter and screams. “More, more” Ruthie exclaimed to her mother. She wanted to see what the world offered. She knew that the world offered more than her hometown Slocomb and she couldn’t wait to get out of there. One day, she was going to get her mother and herself out of that small town. Right now, the swings were the closest way that she could experience freedom. While swinging, she looked up at the birds and imagined that she was one of them. She could feel the wind in her hair and the wings that were allowing her to fly. She believes that she can fly all over the world and see the different countries. Ruthie’s imagination is interrupted by her mother telling her that it is time to go home. As Ruthie is leaving the park, she looks back towards the swings and the kids playing on them. She hopes that they are having as much fun as she had on them.
Ruthie is now twenty years old. She looks back to her six-year-old self and just laughs. Ruthie remembers the hours she spent just swinging on the swings and imagining what freedom is like. She has grown up a lot throughout the years. Ruthie and her mother have moved out of that small town, and Ruthie started life as a flight attendant. She gets to experience her love of flying every day. One of her favorite places to go is back to the small town she grew up in and swing on her favorite swing. It helps her feel like a child again and lets her experience her love of flying repeatedly. Ruthie received the freedom that she wanted. The freedom that allowed her to fly. Ruthie flew, and flying; she was free.