Girl with a kite

January 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

It’s like this.

The beach is starting to empty – parents are packing up windbreaks and deckchairs whilst their children add the final touches to carefully-sculpted sandcastle fortresses. The sun is still high enough, though, that there’s no need for shorts and T-shirts just yet, but shadows are stretching and that wind is picking up.

The girl in the orange bikini – she must be all of ten but that swimsuit adds five years –  is unwinding the strings to a kite held by her friend. Slowly she walks backwards, feeling each step, until the strings stretching out before her are taut and trembling like power lines.

See the young boy running towards her, and know how this will end. You see her tense as she notices him beside her, and you brace yourself with her for the argument that must surely follow – the raised voices, and the tussle for control of the kite. You know how it is – perhaps you had a younger brother or an older sister – and you feel her resentment at his arrogance.

But wait.

This isn’t how it goes.

The boy has taken his sister’s arms and he is helping her to tug the kite up, out of her friend’s hands, into the sky. You see it catch on the breeze and lift above the horizon, above the beach huts and behind them the seafront villas. It rises further and further into the deep blue space above, as this boy and his sister stand, transfixed, his hands still on her wrists, his bronzed back a smaller version of hers. She lifts her arms to give the kite an extra foot or two, and the boy’s hands fall away. Still he waits, silent, beside her, for the kite to tire of tugging at its strings and collapse towards the ground, so he can take his turn.

See their parents too, standing motionless, staring into the sky at the red square held aloft on the late afternoon air.

 

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