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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2200057
A mother and son bond together over kite flying.
The boy's eyes devoured every detail on the kite that his mother had just handed him. It was bright red, with clouds gliding across the diamond shape, begging for him to reach towards the clouds with it. The flashy ribbons fell across his second-hand shirt. As far as he could remember, this was the first gift his mother had given him that wasn't clothes, and he cherished the moment. His mother smiled at him sweetly and rubbed his small head. "Don't hold on to it too hard Jake," she said, "If the wood bends it might not work."

She too was cherishing the moment. It both cheered and hurt her heart to see him so happy over something so small. There was so much that she had to do now that it was just them, and she often forgot that he needed these times, especially with her. She didn't want to lose him as he grew up too quickly for her to catch up. She tried to ignore all the things that needed to be done: The bills were sitting on the table daring her to find a way to pay them, the dishes were waiting in the sink, showing signs of the hastily made dinner she prepared the night before, and her extra pair of work clothes were shed onto the floor begging to be washed. She closed her eyes against them and instead opened the front door to their apartment and stared out at the park that was just across the street from their complex. The breeze was causing the trees to sway gently, and she hoped the breeze would stay to grab hold of the kite for her son.

As they walked across the pocketed asphalt of the parking lot, Jake spoke wildly of his expectations, his mind seizing the idea that he might be carried away with the wind. His mother laughed. "If it does, I'll catch you and make sure you can come back down." she said.

"That's good," Jake said, "I would hate to float away too far. I might not be able to find you, and it would ruin our whole afternoon! We're going to have the whole afternoon together, right mama?"

"Of course," she replied softly, "Nothing is going to take you away from me today."

It was unseasonably warm as the two watched the darkening leaves fall off the branches, but the wind stayed hopeful by not being brought down by either the heat or the change in seasons. In fact, it seemed to relish it. Jake ran ahead of his mother on the springy grass, but he was never far away because his legs were so short. So tiny, she thought. She bent down next to Jake and hugged him as they unraveled the kite together. "You may not be able to do it the first couple of times," she said. He frowned at the thought, but she squeezed his hand. "Everything is a little bit difficult at first, but if you catch the right breeze, you'll get exactly what you want."

The sky was shockingly blue that day. There were a few clouds lazily crossing the sky, and Jake promised that if he got the kite up, he would race the clouds and win for her. He had his own clouds, after all, smiling widely on the canvas of the kite. He dashed off as fast as he could and threw the kite into the air immediately, without concern for his mother's words, and then watched it plummet to the ground. His mother rushed over before he could cry, his face scrunching up with disappointment. She picked up the kite and dusted off the dirt with her work shirt from the day before, and then let her gentle hands catch Jake's tears. "Don't you worry about that, baby. It just needs to learn. You have to show it how to move. You have to run, but let it know you've got a hold of it, okay?"

Jake smiled. "Okay mama. I'll make sure it knows." He took the kite from her with tiny hands and held it firmly by the cloth. "I've got you. You won't float away."

His mother, still kneeling by his side, gave him a little push. She felt the cold ground grinding itself into her pants, but she shoved that feeling aside. Who cared if she was dirty? What did the little smudges on her shirt really matter? She was there with her baby, and she watched as the breeze finally grasped onto the kite and lifted it up. She was nearly blinded by the sharp glare of the sun, but she looked down and saw the uninterrupted joy on her son's face as he laughed and ran through the park. "I'm gonna win, clouds! Me and my kite are gonna win!"

The redness of the kite was bold, almost daring, against the backdrop of the sky. It really seemed that Jake was winning against the clouds, and his mother cheered for him, running to catch him up in a hug as he finally stopped to watch the kite float aimlessly. "See mama?" he said, a little breathless, "I told you I could beat the clouds. And you told me you wouldn't let me float away. So we both did really good."

"Yeah, we sure did baby. It's a perfect day."
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