Up Where the Air Is Clear

Steve Flies a Kite

We had beginner’s luck at first, maybe. They hooked the strings to our kites at the festival setup booth. “What did you write on yours — what did you wish for?” they asked us. “I wished for more art,” Steve replied.

I smiled as she handed my kite back to me, and after taking too long to debate the answer in my head wound up saying nothing. It had a been a tough week. (Surrender, I had written, but I meant something more than that. Open acceptance, but I’m not even sure what that could mean; to be honest I was in a hurry and tired of feeling so vulnerable and easily-read lately, for now I just wanted to get something into the sky. And kittens, I had added, an attempt to take the whole thing less seriously.) We stepped into the grass, holding the bright blue paper over our heads, and just like that — the wind took them.

We stepped backward, started to run. The string quickly unwinding from its spindle, our bright papers getting smaller, farther away. Each shift, each current a gentle pull, a lift from above. We were euphoric, uncontrollably grinning now, running backwards and lifting our arms to go higher. Maybe it would be like floating, I thought. Maybe if I could just fill my chest with enough air, I would rise to the surface.

More: Steve’s wish, going up up up, some tangled strings, and joy in black and white.

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