When I saw a picture of a girl flying a kite on Pixabay, my mind travelled back to science class in primary school.
Mr. Clement was an amazing teacher and he was so passionate about his work. Thanks to him, I knew early enough that science without experiments is dead. We always carried out experiments on our topics in science class: we planted corn and beans in milk cans; we collected clay, loam and sand samples in bowls and observed their permeability to water; we did all sorts of simple stuff that made schooling fun.
One Friday, Mr. Clement taught us about objects that float in air, and kites and balloons were on the list. At the end of the day, we went home with an assignment to make kites and come to school with them on Monday. I made my kite on Saturday.
Being the first child has its pros and cons, and one of the cons is that there is no elder sibling to help you with things that you find difficult. So, after messing around with paper, nylon, thread and broomsticks for an hour or so, I faced reality: I didn’t know how to make a kite. In that regard, I am my mother’s daughter, and dad who could help was out of town. Eventually, a big sis in the neighbourhood came to my rescue, and I went to school on Monday with a black kite made of polythene bag.
During the lunch break, my classmates and I hurriedly filled our mouths with rice in the dining hall. Mr. Clement was waiting for us on the playground to watch us fly our kites. When all the kites were out, at first, I felt inferior: some of my friends actually had two or three kites; some kites even had long tails while some had seven different colours. But when we started flying the kites, I soon forgot about the plainness of mine. After all, the exercise was about flying kites, not a kite beauty pageant, and my kite was flying just as well.
The cool April breeze came to play with us that day, and it was so much fun to feel it tug at my kite as I ran round and round the playground. So lost was I in the excitement that I didn’t know when my grip on the string loosened, and like a tiger that had been lying in wait, the wind pounced on my kite and took it away.
“Stop! Stop!” I cried as I ran after the kite with outstretched arms. I soon ran into the wall that enclosed the school compound and fell on my back. Weeping from my loss and injury, I watched the kite soar higher and higher into the sky, farther and farther beyond the reach of my tiny hands.
I helped myself up, wiped my eyes and started sobbing afresh. My friends were still running around and flying their kites, obviously unaware that I was no more with them. From where I stood by the wall, the playground was a carnival, different shades of red, yellow, green, blue and purple swaying in the air. I only loosened my grip for a second, and I could no longer partake in the fun.
That was years ago. Who cares about kites now? There are other things to think about, like career, responsibilities, love… Yeah, love; that one. I am nothing near a love expert but I know that love and kites have this in common: under control, they are delightful things, but out of control, they can actually make you cry. Just as you shouldn’t be carefree with a kite you want to keep for a long time, so it is with love; when it becomes loose and unrestrained, it becomes lust. Was that what Paul was trying to say when he described the fruit of the spirit by starting with love and ending with self-control? I wonder.
By the way, I really need to learn how to make a kite because if my first child ever has to go to school with one, it has to be the finest kite on the playground. It’s not a beauty pageant, I know; but whatever is worth doing is worth doing well, right?
About the writer
Olubola Alamu is a writer and book editor. She blogs at www.thamarshaven.wordpress.com and is presently the editor-in-chief at Editfy. You can follow her on Instagram @olubolaalamu.
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