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dream you are a kite 

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Annabella’s knuckles have left pink little circles on her cheeks. Restless, she’s just lifted her head from a sulk. The fog patch on the window shrinks, but rain streams down the other side, trapping her here in her sister’s darkening bedroom. She huffs.

Her sister’s leaning her forehead against the window, making her own breath patterns. Nothing you can do, Lydia says; older, wiser. Her grown-up’s hands, that do things like type letters, make dinner, and calculate taxes, rest on the sill, show veins jagged like the lightning bolt that’s just made Annabella gasp. Lydia’s fingers tick out the seconds to thunder – three, four, five ­– it’s getting closer, Annabella whispers, that prickle of horror at the clap and roll somehow exciting.

You just have to wait it out, Lydia smiles. But it’s summer, Annabella whines, but the sill’s pungent with mildew and vinegar and she’s no longer sure.

Hey, why not pretend you’re an elephant? Lydia ventures, but Annabella’s unconvinced, and shakes her head roughly, crossing her arms in a childish no. It’s boring, to swing her arm like a trunk and stomp around.

No? Okay… what about… a caterpillar? Annabella rolls her eyes, something she’s learned from Lydia. She plonks her chin back down on her hands, flat now on the sill, elbows splayed outwards.

All right, Lydia drawls, looking sideways at Annabella. Then… imagine you’re a tree. A hot, thirsty tree, and all this rain has come just in time.

Annabella’s attention flickers. Lydia sees, and continues. Spread your arms, dry branches; dig in your toes, parched roots; uncurl your fingers, leaves refreshed.

Annabella’s suddenly upright, arms outstretched. She feels raindrops hammering around her feet, Lydia’s carpenter fingers. She feels cooling wind, Lydia’s breath in her hair. She hears the leaves at her fingertips popping like a bubble bath as they open to catch falling droplets.

Her arms fall as lightning flashes again, and this time Annabella counts just two seconds before the roar.

Okay, Lydia grins, and hooks her hands into Annabella’s armpits. Let’s try something else. She swings Annabella onto her bed so they’re nose to nose. I want you to close your eyes, and remember the colour of the sky when the sun is shining.

Annabella blinks at her sister, then slowly closes her eyes.

Good, Lydia praises. Now – Annabella lets Lydia position her arms out straight – wouldn’t you like to be up there, floating around in the breezy summer sky?

Annabella nods, remembers tiny white clouds against a backdrop of blue.

What if you could fly? Lydia asks softly, and closes her hands around Annabella’s waist. Annabella sucks in a breath, anticipating, silent. What if I tied string around your ankles, and you flew up into the sky? A smile tugs at the corner of Annabella’s mouth.

Dream you are a kite, Lydia murmurs as she lifts Annabella into the air above her head.

Dream you are a kite, Annabella hears somewhere far below as she soars up, above the storm, and away.

 

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Our Chief Editor, Cheryl, has been with MASH since day one. Her poetry has appeared in Riot Angel magazine, and one of her short stories was published in This Is It. Cheryl’s creative streak also reaches to art, craft and photography, and her favourite way to combine all these passions is in art journaling and mixed media. You can view Cheryl’s work by visiting her website: www.cswhittaker.com

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