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Monday, Mar. 14, 2005 - 4:06 p.m.

(for gavin & g-spot)

The kite was so far up that it was only a dot against the sky, held to the earth by a spool of white cotton thread that was unravelled to its core. The three boys watched the kite quietly, one holding the spool, the other two squinting at the almost invisible end of the thread. The field was bare, except for a large rain tree in its centre, and the bowling alleys of Marina South were deserted, as they always are on a weekday. There were only three boys and the sky.

They were done with junior college and were waiting to enter the army. One telephoned the other two in the morning and said, let's go fly kite, and they enjoyed the double meaning of the phrase and went. They bought a paper kite for five dollars from a shop at Marina South and lost it after an hour. The kite string broke, maybe fifty, maybe a hundred metres along its length but this does not really matter. The kite, the little black rhombus shape in the sky turned over and fell towards the hawker centre, perhaps into someone's bowl of wanton soup. The three boys laughed about it and bought another kite. Another hour later, they lost the new kite in the same way too. They took a rest under the rain tree and talked about school and the army. To prepare himself for National Service, one had bought a Malay phrasebook while the other two will bring their utter lack of preparation. It will not occur to them to think of the future ten years away, because they did not know then, that it existed as yet. In that future, two of them will be surgeons, and the last will continue changing the world.

They bought a final kite, and lost that one to the sky as well. The kites were physical, constructions of translucent tracing paper and balsa wood. They had held the kites in their hands, tying the thread, inspecting the axial intersection and the curved arch of the thin wooden frame. The kite was something real and existent, yet it could also be something lost and irretrievable. One can say that three kites disappeared from the sky that afternoon, or that they never existed at all. But that afternoon itself will never be lost between the three boys as they grow up, and they will realize one day that they can each say: I am the sky.


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