I Gave Up On Flying Kites

I remember looking out across the sand dunes that were rather disappointingly flat. It was maybe 95 degrees and inching slowly towards 100 as the afternoon drew closer, filling thermometers with mercury as steadily as everyone was filling their pools with cold water. I was walking toward the more crowded areas of town where the beaches were in full-season, women out charring their skin on old, plastic lawn chairs littered throughout the locals’ sticky backyards. Anyways, the point is, there was this group of young kids trying to fly a bright red kite. Maybe it all was drawn from some sort of Mary Poppins dream, or maybe they had seen that painting by Laura Knight and wished to be live-action figures, reenacting an event no one could quite remember anymore, only in a slightly different era and a less classic backdrop. For ages, they brought their arms up and the kite came crashing down and it seemed as if the hope of the generation was lost in the milliseconds between each attempt, their expectant giggles vanishing in time with their arm movements. I stood there on the sand waiting for the climax, waiting for the still air to rush with wind in that miraculous way it sometimes does, but the earth was holding its breath. Eventually, one child after another lost interest in the promise of kite flying on a still day, trading their exhausted strings and fading ribbons for pales and shovels and blow-up balls. And in the same way each of them looked up with excitement at even the slightest movement of air, ready to grab the red fabric again and jolt it sky high, feeling more than slightly guilty for not believing in its possibilities any longer, in the same exact way, every time I say I’m over you, it feels like a mistake.

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