Sunday, 8 March 2015

Let Down the Spinnaker

My older brother had just bought a brand new kite. It was a glossy red and white, the red parts being a Coca-Cola insignia. I didn't really know one brand of cola from another back then, being only 5, but somehow I knew it was cool. And somehow I knew it was coke, despite not even being able to read cursive writing. I was so excited. I begged him to take me along. I hung onto his leg as he walked out the front door to fly it. He kept saying no and trying to shake me off, so I appealed to a higher power - "oh mum, let me go! I want to fly the kite!"

"Take your little brother," she shouted from the kitchen. He sighed and stopped still, waiting for me to get up. I dusted myself off and stood straight and proud. My brother was 12 years older, so rarely had much time for me. It felt like I had made it. I loved it when he included me. It made me feel older, cooler and respected. "It's going to go so high! It's going to touch the clouds!"

I cantered beside him to keep up with his longer strides as he made his way to the school up the road. It had a perfect oval for flying a kite; no trees or goal posts or telegraph poles nearby.

We stopped in the centre of the oval. "Okay" he said, "you hold the kite like this, and when I tell you, throw it straight up in the air." I nodded as he backed up and let some string out. The breeze was slight, but the kite was already feeling like it would go. He'd backed up several meters when he shouted "Okay, go!" I launched it into the air. It flew beautifully but there were no clouds in the sky for it to touch. Just the green grass and the whole blue sky for it to play in. I ran around below it laughing and chasing it's shadow. After a few minutes I asked, "Is it my turn yet?"

"No, not yet," he replied. A few more minutes went by. "Can I have a go now?" I asked again.

Suddenly something awful happened - the string snapped, or my brother let go, and the kite went flying into the bushes at the side of the school. "Wait here," he said. "I'll go get it."

Anxious for the kite's safety I stood and watched him disappear into the distance. I paced as I waited for him to return, but the minutes went by and he still wasn't back. I sat on one of the plank seats and waited for him to return. The minutes dragged on and the sun began setting.

It was twilight by the time my father found me, still sitting on the plank waiting for my brother to return. He never came back for me. He went home or took the kite off somewhere else to fly it.

Dad said, as we walked home together, that I could fly it another time with him, but we never did.


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