Keith and the Kite
© Agneta Nord. May be shared as long as the content is not altered.
July 19, 2012
More stories at http://agnetanord.com
In his eighth summer, Keith had an early birthday present. His parents had noticed that he was bored and reached for a remedy. The glimmering in his eyes when he tore the wrapping to reveal the huge kite amused his mother. With the help of his father, the kite was quickly assembled. He ran out the lawn by the small house they rented for two weeks every summer.
The kite fluttered in the wind in front of him. He laughed when the great eagle looked down at him and sent a shiver of joy through his body. The black tail spun and rattled beneath when he slowly let the line out. It rose and fell over the small lawn. Bordered with high trees, the tiny space never allowed the kite enough wind. He wound it back and set off to the field on the other side of the road. The water in the shallow creek soaked his shoes but he didn’t notice. Keith ran far into the wide open.
He was about to fly high above the land and stay there for ever, as the eagle that he had become. The further he ran, the further he let the line out until he stood in the middle. It was still many feet of line to rise and he smiled and laughed in the sunshine until the wind settled.
Running across the field, he yelled, “Blow! Blow! Stupid wind, blow!” At the end of the field, his sorrow eyes followed his eagle swaying to the ground. It took off again, rose gently, lingered, hesitated. Then it sank again.
Keith shouted, “Blow! Fly! Don’t fall!”
The little of midday wind settled and it was calm. He looked at the kite, stuck in the top of a fir. Tears of anger and disappointment tasted salt and his nose ran. The wait for the wind begun. “It will come again. I’ll wait. You will fly again. I promise.”
He spent his time at the edge of the field watching flies, birds and the flowers. Never did his hand let the line drop.
Long in the afternoon his mother called for him. He was hungry and it was late. But his eagle still sat there, high, out of reach. Pulling the line hard could destroy the kite his father had told him. He dared not try. “Why he have to say that it could stuck in the trees? It’s his bad. Stupid dad!”
He tied the line to the tree and shambled home, crossed the creek and heard a car in the distance. When he reached the roadside he saw a snake struggling to pass. It fought hard but barely moved forward, sliding on the warm asphalt. The car came over the crest and Keith saw the snake would be killed. He ran into the road and stood by the snake, arms high above his head and waved franticly.
The car slowed down to a stop in front of him and the driver opened the door. “What happened?” He was old like his father and his voice was angry.
“Snake wanna get over,” he said shyly while pointing at it.
“Move away boy, I’ll kill it.” The angry man got back into his car.
Keith couldn’t let that happen so he screamed, “Never!”
“Fine,” shouted the man angrily and slammed the door.
Keith stood by the snake until it reached the other side before he let the driver pass. The rest of the way home, he flew, proud and strong with faster heartbeats, prickling skin, and all smile. “That was awesome.”
By sunrise he was eager to get back to his eagle. It wont come down unless a miracle happened, his father had told him. It could be seen between the trees, sitting there alone at the top. Wiggling a little in the morning breeze.
He was careful not to plow the creek that morning. Mother was not happy for his wet feet when he came home last afternoon. Remember that, his mother had scolded. He took his time to the tree since there wasn’t much of a wind yet.
The line was soon untied and he tried to stretch it a little. Didn’t it move? No. He hoped for it to move but it didn’t. Pull a little more didn’t help either. Two tiny branches pinched it. He sighed, felt tears rising and decided he would climb the tree when the wind returned. It only needed a little nudge to slide over the branches. Then it would blow into the open and land on the field.
He paced around the tree anticipating the wind. It wasn’t enough just yet but he knew it would and he would climb and rescue his eagle. He’d show his father that he could do it. A few gusts finally told him it was time to climb. It was easy in the beginning but already after the first few feet, he had to give up. It was too far around the tree and no branches to help him.
Hard clutched hands, forehead creased above his angry eyes. A shadow passed him while he stood a few paces out in the field. His long face shone like the sun. “An eagle,” he whispered when it landed by his eagle kite. The miracle unfold when the eagle grabbed his kite and took off. Its huge wings beat twice and it was free from the tree. Another beat and the kite swayed to the ground.
The eagle screeched and soared in circles, higher and higher. He went up to his kite and stared at its tail. Lying in the grass, it looked like a snake.