The sun was warm and heady in the sapphire hue of the early summer sky. Wisps of pure white cloud, as soft and downy-looking as cotton to my young eyes, determinedly inched their way across the heavens. The steady robust air ruffled my chocolate brown curls like halos around my head.
Daddy stood there before me, trailing curlique kite string from his large, strong hands. His thin, yet muslced, legs poked out like shapely sticks from beneath the fabric of his short gray shorts. His sleeveless muscle shirt was a vibrant red--like the cherries from our backyard tree that stained my teeth and lips as I munched and picked from reaching limbs.
Mommy was there as well, ina white sleeveless tank top, watching, a hint of a smile teasingly tickling the corners of her lips. She sat cross-legged in the emerald green grass of the school field, clutching tight her cigarette holder--like a lifeline--in her pale slender fingers and fromthe lit cigarette in her other hand, smoke curled up lazily to touch the clouds.
My younger brother, Sean, held carelessly to his own kite string, barely containing the flyaway white string in his loosely clenched fist. He pumped small, chubby legs as he ran, and the laughter popped from his mouth like soap bubbles, bursting intermittently in the warm air that embraced his sturdy body.
And then there was me, the oldest child, the thinker, the worrier, the cautious one, clutching tihgtly to my kite string, as if afraid it would be callously ripped from my grip in the gentle afternoon breeze. So afraid to let go. The colors of the kite itself blurred together in a mass of reds, blues and greens. I started to walk fast, building up to a hesitant trot, nervous about losing my grasp on the delicate, slippery string.
"Let it go higher, April!" My father encouraged, smiling, gesturing to the expanse of open inviting sky above me. Looking up, I felt as if I could fall ito that sky, fall into it and be carried lazily away on those same gentle breezes. It was an almost intoxicating feeling.
I slowly, uncertainly, let the spool unravel and watched as my kite crept higher and higher into the sky like a bird of flight, finally, heading home.
So many years later, I clutch at this memory tightly, so afriad it will blow away like the vibrant kite of my youth, on that warm summer day.