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    Thread: The Kite

    1. #1
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      The Kite

      I watched the kite drag along in the dirt behind us, like a dog chasing after a ball. It had been caught up a mile or so back, entangled with the tyres or the chassis as we had left the trailer park filled with empty cans, running children, and countless tents. It was red, with white stripes and a few little green streamers hanging off the side - almost as if it was a Christmas kite. As we bumped along the empty dirt road, it got smudged with dirt or ripped against the rocks, or smeared with cow shit, but in my mind's eye it always remained simply red, white and green.

      The view of the trailer park had already been swallowed by the hilly landscape and the broiling storm clouds. I still remembered the place clearly. It had been by the beach in the greatest sense of the word; take a few steps from your tent and you could feel sand underfoot. We had set up our tent amongst the sea of tarps and caravans, trailers and faded plastic tents. At the very corner of the beach was where the seaweed washed ashore, and great green droves hid the sand, and attracted the flies. The smell of salt in the air mingled with the wafting scent of fried foods from the little beachside cafe just outside the trailer park. We went there, and bought two burgers and some chips wrapped up in grease-absorbing white paper; the burgers for me and my father, and the chips to be shared between all three of us. My mother didn't eat much any more.

      My father made a spiteful little comment about the burger, and my mother made a pained face at me. My mother made a comment about the smell of the seaweed; my father made a face at me. The bizarre game of chess continued: comment, face. Comment, face. Comment, face. Despite my parents, I liked the burger, I liked the smell of the seaweed, I liked the little cafe called the Snack Shack - but most of all, I liked the people. While my parents ate in silence, I observed the inhabitants of this happy little seclusion. Mostly it was families: thirty year-olds with young children. A little girl led her parents down to the beach; a child around four of five played with a wet terrier; a teenage couple passed, holding hands. My parents were completely out of place here, I realised. The vision of a cancerous lump amongst healthy flesh entered into my mind unbidden.

      The tide was starting to go out for the day, so I went swimming while my parents departed back to their tent. It was getting late, so apart from the teenage couple, I was the only one swimming. I dived under the water and let the cold wash over me. For a moment I wondered what would happen if I stayed here under the swirling, cloudy water and simply opened my mouth and expelled the air from my lungs. Only for a moment, though - I rose again and I breathed in the salt-ridden air. A light wave washed over me, and I shivered. I'd have to go back to the tent.

      That night, my parents watched game shows on a little portable television. They watched game shows at home, too. I knew how the night would go: my mother would watch the screen intently, and always, always call out the answers before my father, and my father would feel inadequate and go to bed early. While he was sleeping, my mother would call me into the kitchen and ask me about school, and girls, and sport. In the morning, my father would wake up before my mother and sit me down in the kitchen and talk to me about school, and girls, and sports, and I would tell him word-for-word what I had told my mother the night before.

      I didn't want to watch game shows, so I went out on to the beach and sat to watch the tide go out. As it slowly receded, it revealed more and more of the brown and green stretch of seaweed. I sat watching for maybe ten minutes, but finally got up because of the mosquitoes and the flies. I walked across the plains of seaweed back to the tent, and felt coolness envelope my feet as they sunk in.

      I lingered at the entrance of the tent, watching a caravan a few tents or so away. There were ten or fifteen people out in front, holding drinks and chatting and barbecuing meat. Lights hung over the whole affair, suspended on an overhanging branch of a tobago tree, and I wished I could be there. In front of a few more tents, families talked together. Happy families. Cheery families. None of them were watching game shows.

      I couldn't join them, so I entered our own little abode. My father was already sleeping, and my mother sat on a foldable chair on a foldable table reading a book I couldn't make out the title of. She looked up and smiled warmly in a way that I knew she kept for me. She didn't smile like that even for Dad - especially not for Dad. She put the book down and looked up at me and said, 'Tell me about your girlfriend.'

      I didn't have a girlfriend. She was completely fictional. But Emily was nevertheless a good conversation topic, with her interest in violins and classical music and her bob cut. She was delightfully old-fashioned, and my parents loved it. I knew I'd regret creating her one day but that day was not today and for this moment my mother could smile about the girl with the short brown hair and dazzling smile.

      I sat down, and told my mother about the girl who didn't exist.


      And now it was three days later and we were departing the little cafe by the beach, and the drifts of cool seaweed and the tobago tree hung with lights. Storm clouds gathered and turned a deep black, and the kite which reminded me of Christmas trailed along behind the car like a streamer on a car adorned with "Just Married!" The dirt road had turned into bitumen and we were about to enter the highway. The kite stayed on the car and I laughed at how absurd the car would look travelling down the black stretch of highway with the thing hanging off the back.

      At some point on the trip I fell asleep, and when I woke up the kite was gone. I regarded the now empty space behind the car in silence. Sleep claimed me again and I rested my head against the black rubber of the car door. I woke in intervals, and each time there was the black stretch of highway out the window; when I woke for the third or fourth time it was raining so heavily that it was drowning out the radio, and a flood of water streamed down my window and obscured the view, and finally I couldn't sleep any more. I sat up. We were pulling off the highway and into a service station.

      There was a lone car at the station. It was sky blue, and small; a picture of energy efficiency. As my father filled the car up, I noticed a flash of colour hanging from above the tyre of the tiny blue car. It was a piece of cloth, hanging. I called over to the man. Look at your tyre. He turned, confused, and I nodded towards his tyre. He walked to the tyre, and tugged the tangled cloth out.

      Even from ten or so metres away, even through the torrents of rain, I could clearly see the red, white and green of the festive little kite.
      Last edited by Kiza; 10-02-2009 at 11:52 AM.
      A turd with a bullet in it ain't exactly 5 O'Clock News Ray

    2. #2
      q t pi
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      Dec 2008
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      I didn't read it but awesome. I'll read tomorrow
      if you can read this then you are about to be punched

    3. #3
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      Nov 2007
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      im here for you
      I enjoy this

      But I always sound retarded when I say things like that

      so yeah I like this a lot


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