Sunday, May 4, 2014

Flying Free


Cumulus clouds drifted above her head. The sky promised a glorious day. Evelyn had wanted to visit Siesta Key for weeks, but the cold weather had kept her prisoner inside her spacious house. Now, armed with a beach blanket, a sun hat, sun glasses, cheese and crackers, and a chilled bottle of Clos du bois Chardonnay, she ventured forth for a fun filled day of kite flying.
One hour later she parked her red Nissan convertible and trudged forth with her weighty belongings unto the pristine sands she loved. Evelyn spread the blanket before taking off her sandals and long sleeve shirt. The breeze was mild yet the blanket folded in itself till Evelyn deposited the cooler, hat and kite strategically to keep the blanket in place. She stood watching sea gulls above the mild surf and breathed in the salty, tangible air. She licked her dry lips with pleasure and in anticipation of the calm day ahead. Suddenly, a family of five planted themselves nearly on top of her blanket.
“Why?” she thought, “why do people insist on sitting so close when there’s an entire beach to choose from?” She wanted to experience freedom not congestion, so she picked up her gear and headed further down the beach where no one, not a soul, rested their blanket on the desolate sand. She wanted to be alone, to think, and to mull over what had been happening to her. She needed alone time to get life’s intricate garbage sorted out in her head, so she could emerge a different person, wiser and more in tune with whom she believed she could be. The person who had been mirroring her was some other person with an attitude unlike hers. Who had she become?
The breeze chilled her. She no longer felt warmth from the 70 degree weather or from the comforting rays of the sun. Evelyn always grew cold when she was tired or when she was upset. Today, she was both. She slipped on her shirt once again and hugged herself for warmth. “Thank God I wore jeans. If not I would probably have to pick my stuff up and go home,” she thought with a sense of despair.
She knelt on the blanket and began to arrange the wine bottle, the wine glass, and the cheese and crackers on the cooler tabletop. “This should warm me up,” she thought as she poured a glass of wine. Evelyn took a few pieces of cheese before taking a sip of wine. It tickled her throat and a nice tingle lingered on her tongue, but the best part of all was the immediate sense of tranquility she felt. “Ah, life is a beach, or is it life is a bitch?” she spoke to the wind, knowing it would not come back to haunt her. “Life is a bitch, and I’m not sure I even know why.” So much of her life was beginning to annoy her. Her house was too big, too grand. Her husband was too good, too docile; she wanted the strong and confident man back. Where had he gone? Since his retirement, he was passive and reconciled to a simple lifestyle. Evelyn didn’t even recognize his personality anymore. She was annoyed with her mundane existence of work, home, exercise, more work, and then sleep. The next morning started the cycle all over again. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked, “I have everything a woman, wife, and mother could possibly want, yet here I am miserable.”
Evelyn jumped when she heard a clear and distinct voice coming from somewhere within the recesses of her mind, “You need change. You’re bored. That’s all it is.”
“I’m bored? How can I possibly be bored when I’m so active? I never stop!”
“True,” the voice continued, “but you do the same things day in day out.”
“Yeah, so what do you suggest?”
“Well, let’s see. You love the water, yet you hardly go to the beach. You depend on others to take you or be with you. Go by yourself for goodness sake and stop playing the victim.”
“I’m here today, aren’t I?” Evelyn was beginning to get upset with this inner voice that was reprimanding her as though it were her mother or son, for he too believed she should stop her whining and get over it. She un-wrapped her kite from its casing, assembled it and then embellished it with colorful ribbon she had taken from her sewing basket. “I’m going to fly my kite; in the meantime, you just shut up.” She took another sip of wine, finishing off her second glass.
“Great, just great!” Evelyn realized others had joined her little desert island, “Can’t people just leave me the hell alone,” she thought. Evelyn walked several yards, so she could have more room to fly the simple red kite with the rainbow ribbons. She worked the rope and ran, lifting her arms, motioning the kite to fly high into the sky, but it dragged on the sand, making a stream of convoluted shapes. Others were experiencing great heights and long air time with their masterpieces of dragons, butterflies, and eagles, not Evelyn. Her kite lay lifeless on the sand. It drooped and flopped dead even when she tried with all her might to give it speed and wind.
“Dam kite won’t even try to fly,” she groaned. She removed the colorful ribbons, thinking perhaps that would change the outcome, but to no avail. She tried over a dozen times to elevate her kite, but it refused to budge from its funereal ground.
Kite flyers watched her in dismay, yet no one asked her if she needed help. “I’ll be dammed if I ask anyone for help.” Tears began to well up, “No, I’m not going to cry,” she said, determined not to let this day become another failure.
Her head buzzed from her frustration and from the amount of wine she had drunk. Evelyn poised her kite above the cooler and then lay down. Several hours later, she awoke to the most beautiful sunset she had ever seen.
The sun was half of the way into the horizon, and all around was this lavender, orange glow of twilight. A smile formed as she sat amazed at nature’s wonder and at her own foolishness. All the kites were gone and Evelyn was alone on her little stretch of beach. She reached for her kite and began running toward the lighthouse in the distance. She didn’t look back, so she didn’t see that her simple kite was flying ever so high. When she did turn around, she began to laugh at its unnatural height and the freedom with which it flew. And then, just as it was about to touch the edge of the sunset, without thinking twice, she let it go.




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