She was fifteen when her parents realized she was a kite.
First, they tethered her to the bedpost to stop her from flying out the window. She kept bumping her head against the ceiling, though, so they tried other places next: the kitchen table, to keep an eye on her, but the cat wouldn’t leave her alone; then, a tree out front, but it was awfully close to the electric wires, and that made her mother nervous. So, finally, they decided to tie her tether to a heavy rock on the beach. It was no more than a ten-minute walk from their house. They visited once a week, the whole family, her cousins, her grandpa, and her aunts, with binoculars and poorly punctuated signs that read:
“We Love You Honey”
“Stay Warm OK.”
A few years passed this way, with the kite girl cruising peacefully in the air, watching the sky and the seagulls and the joyful bathers underneath. And every week her parents lay down on the sand and stared at the faraway, long-tailed spot that was their daughter, and they wondered:
Can she see us come and go?
Can she feel the wind and the sun on her paper-thin skin?
Is she thinking kite-girl thoughts?
But, of course, kite girls are more like kites than they are like girls, and so there was no way for them to know.
And when her eighteenth birthday came, as it was bound to one day come, her parents looked at each other and said, “It’s time for us to let her go, don’t you think?”
And so they set out for the beach, with laughter, tears, and farewells, with a large “Happy Birthday!!!” sign, a pair of scissors, and some helium balloons.
Natalia Theodoridou is a media & cultural studies scholar, the dramaturge of Adrift Performance Makers (@AdriftPM), and a writer of strange stories. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, KROnline, Shimmer, and elsewhere. Find out more at her website, www.natalia-theodoridou.com, or follow @natalia_theodor on Twitter.