Caught Up

The colors rose into the sky, red and yellow and green, up and up, where they fluttered like the petals of flowers in a field of blue and white. The wind tugged at the fabric of the kite and snapped its tail in wild gyrations. The kite, in turn, pulled at its leash, struggled to ascend into still deeper sky, straining against its anchor.

Wendy laughed as the wind tried once again to snatch the kite from her grip. She stared up at it, her flag in the sky, squinting against the sun. Her hair tickled her face and blinded her in sudden gusts. Her shirt, patterned in bright Van Gogh swirls, billowed in front of her, the wind pulling her and pushing her and lifting her off her feet as the grass thrashed and moaned beneath her. She squealed, the kite jerking her forward, the wind pressing mischievously against her back.

“I’m going to fly, Daddy! I’m going to go spinning into the air!”

Her father peered at his phone, trying to read the unexpected text message through the glare.

Like a startled fish, the kite darted left. Wendy ran with it, screaming joyously. It tried to drop, to descend like a comet, but she planted her feet and forced herself back two steps, her face screwed with concentration. The wind died, then, and it released its grip, the whole world falling silent. Wendy turned and ran, ran to keep the kite aloft, ran to add her own little motion until the world began again to spin with wild abandon.

She felt the line tighten. The wind had her kite in its teeth. She watched it climb. Her movement had taken her closer to the other kites. White clouds like grand ships skimmed the pale blue, and they wore the colors and symbols of dozens of fanciful nations. Wendy leaned her head back until the sky enveloped her. She felt herself falling into that wide, clear, rainbow land where the wind blew and you flew where it led, free and happy and sure, because it knew where it blew and from whence it came — and it kissed the sun and swept the floor of heaven.

“Daddy!” she cried, not even caring where her own kite was, or where she was, just that she swam in a sea of motion and light. “Daddy!”

He came to her, groaning as he rose from the grass, preoccupied with the message and the mud on his shoes. She spared a glance to see that he was coming, a dim figure in the writhing grass.

“What is it, Wendy?” he asked wearily.

“Look,” she said, sinking again into heaven. The line struggled to free itself from her grip, but she tightened her hold and released one hand so she could find her Dad’s. “Look! Fly with me, Daddy. Don’t you want to fly?”

He looked at her, grinning and beautiful, as she gazed into the sky. Slowly, he wrapped his large hand around hers and squeezed. “Take me with you, Wendy.”

This story was originally published in the 4County Mall.

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