Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Barbarann Ayars
My brother's kite was large and yellow. He tore up old bed sheets, tied the strips across its tail, spacing them in a pattern only he knew. He stuck his tongue out, concentrating; tying that tail had his tongue hanging in the breeze for hours. However hard I tried, he refused my advice. What could a girl know?
I knew how to fly a kite. It was as natural to me as fishing was to him. I told him to run fast, know when to release, feel the lifting breeze. His legs pumped across the alfalfa field so fast I thought they'd snap off. The kite still dragged its tail on the ground.
My kite was a blue and red box, easy to fly. The slightest breeze lifted and flew it so high on the wind that on a cloudy day we could hardly see it. Little brother was unhappy; the laws of males said girls couldn't fly kites.
(In the future, my true love would stand on a beach, chagrined as my brother had been, to watch me fly a kite. Me! A girl!)
I didn't flaunt my talent. Bobby thought it must be because my kite was better. Given his overgrown tail, that was certainly true. I was reluctant to let him handle my kite, but one day he got lucky. Nature called. My kite was flying so high I just couldn't let it down. I pressed Bobby into service, parking him at the edge of the field. He couldn't see the kite in the cloudy overcast. He'd have only the tug of white string and the stick it was wrapped around to go by, to steer as the wind pulled the box higher.
I placed the stick in his small hands, wrapped his fingers tightly around it, and instructed him how to respond to the tug. He looked at me with trepidation and wild-eyed ecstasy as I surrendered my kite. Bug eyed, mouth open, his hands responded to the pull. He was dexterous, with sensitive wrists; he could do this. Like fishing in the sky, he'd describe it decades later. I backed away, raced to the house to answer Nature and was quickly back beside him who'd become part of the kite that still flew out of sight. He reeled in and paid out the line in increments matching the pull, lost in the flying, feeling the quiet exhilaration of success. Like me. In the light breeze whispering in the alfalfa, I saw the gift I‘d given him, understood the magnitude of his recognition: I was ten feet tall in his eyes. He'd achieved equal skill to his sister.
Ever after, I reduced his tail, gained altitude for him and let him fly his own experience. He begged me to tell him what made me best. I shrugged my shoulders; I had no idea. What I did know, though, watching him fine-hone his skills, was that seeing his joy was almost better than flying my box.
Barbarann Ayars writes in the small American town of Medina, Ohio. She's still working on her memoir with editor/teacher/mentor/friend Sheila Bender. Since she last submitted to Tiny Lights, she has conquered cancer, continued to sing in a large choir, worked on her memoir and written four essays a month in her essay class, something she's done for more than four years now. She's been published in Persimmon Tree, an e-mag for women over sixty five, and writes a blog when she remembers to do it.
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