One August, a man I loved tried to kill me.
Only he didn’t kill me.
Earlier that day, we had gone kite-flying.
I stood quietly by his side watching the blue of the kite blend with the blue of the sky, watching him control the kite, make it do what he wanted it to do.
Later that night, he took my body and showed me that his was stronger.
That he was in control.
His leg weighed tons, and I couldn’t wiggle out from underneath him. At first, I thought he was just fooling around but he wasn’t laughing and he didn’t get off of me even when I told him I couldn’t breathe.
Afterwards, he took my head and tried to make me believe that he wasn’t a monster.
But he was.
Even though he sent me long, love letters filled with apologies.
Even though he put a heart-shaped rock on the windshield of my car.
Even though he tried to make me remember sweet, summer peaches.
I could only picture them bruised and split down the middle.
I remembered how he pushed me under water and tried to drown me.
How it almost worked.
Except it didn’t.
Every August, for over twenty years, I find myself remembering this man.
And, strangely, I feel an odd sense of gratitude.
Because that night, in a stranger’s room, in a borrowed bed, I learned that I could be broken.
But I also learned that I could put myself back together again.
And somehow, it’s August again and I find myself in a park wrestling with a kite.
It is windier than usual and tough to fit the cross spars in their slots because the kite fights me impatiently.
I think it knows what I have planned.
Finally, I stand up. The tails snap, wanting.
I run backwards, feeling the pull.
I run, turning my back to the wind.
With the front of the kite facing me, I release it into a gust and pay out line and pull back to increase the lift.
In thirty seconds the kite is far out over the lake, pulling hard.
I run around the muddy field, making the kite dip and soar, dive and swirl.
From the ground, I control that rainbow diamond in the sky – make it answer my commands.
I remember how he hated things that refused to be controlled and so it is with great swelling pleasure that I release a new kite each year.
I like to imagine him chasing after the dropped driftwood reel, his hands outstretched, the Screaming Eagle kite a quarter of a mile up, blazing.
NOTE: This piece originally appeared on Deb Bryan’s blog. I needed to call this one home.