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The White Kite with Blue Polka-Dots

I was seven years old when they left me.

We were at the beach one day. The sun was setting, hiding just behind the horizon where it gave off a glorious, golden light, reflecting off of the calm water. Small waves crashed against the sand and crawled back to the ocean. People of all ages sat on the smooth, white sand; little ones ran around in the wet sand, splashing each other with salty water, laughing in delight; couples sat on beach towels, holding hands. Birds, white and gray, flew above it all, cawing into the air and circling each other.

My own parents sat on the sand, watching me fly a kite that I had made myself.

I still remember the kite. A white diamond with blue polka-dots. Thin, wooden sticks hastily glued to the paper. A spool of blue yarn, worn and tattered, that I found in the attic, tied to one end of the kite.

Once in awhile, a cool summer breeze would bring my kite to life. It soared high into the sky, twisting and swaying. I would smile brightly and turn to my parents, but they didn’t seem too excited. Mom and Dad smiled wearily until I turned away in disappointment, watching the kite float down to the sand as the summer breeze ceased to blow.

I loved that kite. It was so happy, twisting and dancing in the cool air. When the wind came again, I bit my lips in concentration, shifting the spool of yarn in my hand. I went on my tiptoe, filled with giddiness, when it lifted, up, up, up into the sky; the blue polka-dots seemed to dance on the white, a tiny tornado at the end of my yarn.

But then it stopped. The wind grew weak. The kite stopped its dance and fell to the sand.

Noticing the sky had turned dark, I turned to my parents. They weren’t there. Only the towel, now wrinkled and scattered with sand, lay on the beach.

“Mom?” I ran up the dirt ramp that led to the restaurants and bathrooms. “Dad?”

I went to the bathrooms and called for them, but people just stared at me. No response came.

Panicked, I rushed to the beach again and ran to both ends of the beach. I came back to the towel on the sand and stood, calling for them.

I rolled up the towel and found my spool of blue yarn. “Mom! Dad! Come on, I’m ready to go!” Quickly, I spun my blue yarn, bringing the kite back to my hands. “Mom!”

All of a sudden, the wind picked up speed and took the kite out of my hands, sending it spiraling into the dark sky. With fumbling fingers, I tried to reel the kite back in. I raised my head, and that’s when I spotted two figures, a man and a woman, running towards me, yelling, “Honey!”

“Mom! Dad!” I ran, holding the wrapped-up towel tightly in my hands.

Mom and Dad ran towards me. I moved my legs even faster. It seemed to me like they could disappear just before I reached them. I crashed into Mom, who gave a yelp.

I moved off of Mom and Dad. “Where were you guys?”

Mom frowned. Dad stood and helped Mom up and looked at me like I was a homeless child, begging for change. I looked at their faces. The two weren’t Mom and Dad.

“What’s wrong with you?” the woman snapped. The man and woman glared at me, brushing sand off of their bodies. A little girl came and took hold of the woman’s hand.

“Honey, don’t run off like that!” the woman poked the little girl’s belly, making her giggle. The three walked away, hand in hand.

I sulked back to the spot Mom and Dad had sat on. I came to realize my kite was gone. I had let go of it when I mistook the man and woman for my parents. In the distance, far above the ocean’s calm water, I saw the white kite with blue polka-dots soaring away from me, dancing, so happy.

They didn’t come back that day. They never came back.

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