On a summer afternoon in the land of seven- and eight-year-olds, a wise parent returned from work with a dragon kite. Red and green and blue and yellow, crackling and made of cellophane, it's wild tail threatened to savage any rival, while it's body, girth, and wizened head, each segment larger than the last, held itself for the moment to the floor, strained and taut.
A young boy—the recipient, in fact, caught for a moment transfixed—realized quickly that there was one thing to do, one thing only, any other to be a desecration.
The kite would be allowed to fly.
Mere minutes later, bathed in wind and sun, boy and kite stood one in the long light of afternoon, the arms and legs of mighty dragons dancing high above, ecstatic and free.
Time, so much as it was, stopped. When it started once again, the sun descended and so, regrettably and of necessity, did the dragon.
"Until tomorrow!" said the little boy inside the little boy, eyes shining as he made his way inside, kite in tow. "Tomorrow, first thing, we fly again!"
The kite never flew again. Buffeted by time, forgetfulness, and the inarticulate hands of childhood, it gradually receded into the world of immateriality once again, as the best monuments of childhood do.
Today, in the basement of a department store many lifetimes later, a little rack of well-packaged kites changed the space of time just enough for the dragon kite to return for the first time in a generation. Caught in fluorescent lights and in the incredible bittersweet of adulthood, for a brief moment my entire world once again was a kite, red and green and blue and yellow, fluttering in the summer afternoon air. If I hadn't turned my head and walked on through the aisles, its long forgotten passing would quickly have become too much to bear.
For love of the world, the truly sentimental leave home behind. Later in life and for the same reason, they seek out and grab hold of it once again.