Cut Loose by Digby Beaumont

It’s impossible for my dad to move: overnight he’s turned into a kite.

He lies motionless on his bed, a checkerboard of garish red and yellow panels, such a contrast to the sober greys of his old three-piece business suits.

“First Mum, now this,” I say. “What were you thinking?”

“Check me out,” he says. “High-performance ripstop nylon sail, graphite spars and an eight-foot wingspan fully extended.”

“So what was wrong with your old life?” I ask.

“What, reaching for a hand that’s no longer there? Sitting hollow-eyed in front of the TV night after night? Lying awake alone?”

“You didn't consider my feelings?” I say. “You're the only family I have left.”

“Listen,” he says. “I'm counting on you.”

 

It’s a fresh October morning. He’s chosen a nearby beach. “Keep your back to the wind,” he says, “and hold me up till the current catches my sail.”

I do as he says and hurl him upwards. He hovers momentarily before swooping to the ground.

“No use,” I say. “Not enough wind. Let's go home, try again another day.” But I feel his gaze, so full of lightness and hope.

This time I lay him on the sand and step backwards, feeding out his line from its winder. Fifteen feet away, I wait. The wind gusts and I pull.

He takes off and soars skywards, his long tail streaming.

Not long after, another kite appears. Then another. Soon a dozen or so dot the skyline. One of the fliers approaches and we nod to each other.

By now Dad has climbed as high as his line will take him. He tugs, hoisting me onto my toes. I wave back before letting go, and the sun hurts my eyes as he continues his ascent.

 

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The Linnet's Wings is an Irish Bases Literature and Art Magazine