folder Filed in Fiction
The Kite
When your common language is flight.
Bernard Steeds comment 0 Comments access_time 2 min read

When you’re travelling, which you do a lot for your business, everything seems so bright and new and whole and real.

You’re in Tiananmen Square watching all these men in grey clothes flying their kites. You stop to take a picture. One of them sees you, comes up to you, hands you his kite. He speaks. You can’t understand his words. But you understand his eyes, his hands. He’s giving you the kite, just for the moment. He wants you to fly.

The kite is made of paper, cut and painted so it has become a dragon. It’s faded with use, a little ripped in places. It’s beautiful.

The man is beautiful too. His skin is like soft leather and his eyes are very dark and innocent, they’re like a baby’s eyes. They’re also the eyes of someone who has seen plenty.

You take the kite, and try to fly it, running backwards in little steps, holding the string tight to your body, attempting to whip it upwards with your wrist―but the kite won’t leave the ground.

Normally you would be angry with yourself. You’re failing. You’re not even competent. You’re making a fool of yourself. But there’s something about this kite, this man, this crazy situation that leaves you not caring at all.

You just laugh. It’s not serious, is it?

You watch this kite fluttering along six inches off the ground. No matter how fast you run―big, lumbering bear in a three-piece suit, running across the vastness of the Square―the little kite won’t go anywhere. You’re laughing. The Chinese man is laughing.

In fact, thousands of people are standing around, watching you. Laughing.

It’s like the kite is not flying, but you are, borne along by the laughter of the universe.

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