Kite and Starfish: A Jogger

Girl and her brother walked along the sidewalk on the street where she lived.  She turned often to look back at her house, to remember how it looked different from the other houses.  She saw that the trees were still small on her street, and that there was not much shade.  She remembered that her father had not liked that.

“Ah!” said Girl, spotting a jogger, and she made her brother run across the empty street.  The jogger was a woman, and she was wearing all light blue.  She was also wearing earphones and Girl and her brother ran alongside her awhile before she noticed them.

“Oh dear,” said the woman, jogging in place and removing one earphone, as she watched Girl bend over and pant.  Girl’s brother dropped to the sidewalk and lay down, puffing.

“Oh my,” said the woman and stopped jogging in place.  “What is it, Girl?”

“I—made a wish—that turned—my brother invisible,” said Girl, catching her breath.  “Do you know how to turn him visible again?”

“Well!” said the jogger, raising her eyebrows, and she considered Girl.  She removed her other earphone, thoughtfully, and said, “I’m from the city myself.  I jog here for the peace and quiet.  In the city,” she continued, “everyone’s a stranger, you know?  You can be on a bus and nobody will look at anyone else.  I guess that the only people who really see me are my husband and my kids.  I—I’m happy with that, you know?”

“Thank you very much,” said Girl, and she turned to go on.  She looked at her brother and found that he had spread his limbs out like a starfish.  She sighed, picked him up under the arms, and tried to haul him down the sidewalk.

“Girl!” said the woman.  “Where are you going?”

“I’m going home,” Girl called back, and she did not turn to see the woman looking after her.


Kite and Starfish: Yard Man

The morning air was cool and fresh and birds could be heard chirping in the bushes.  Girl felt her heart lighten as she closed the front door behind them.  Her brother ran forward but was stopped by the length of ribbon binding them.  He pouted.  Girl tried not to look too pleased.  A clipping noise announced itself from nearby, and Girl took her brother to investigate.

There was a man trimming the shrubbery that marked the beginning of her neighbor’s lawn.  He was very quick and skilled with the shears.  Girl approached, impressed, but her brother hung back.

“Excuse me, sir? Sir?” Girl tried.  The man continued to clip.  Girl’s brother began jumping up and down, pulling at the ribbon and Girl’s arm.  Girl tried to ignore this.

“Pardon me, sir?” she said.  The man looked up.

“I made a wish and turned my brother invisible.  No one can see him but me.  I don’t know what to do,” said Girl.

The man stared at her awhile.  Then he snorted.

“Wish him visible again,” he said, carelessly.  He opened his shears again.

“I can’t,” said Girl.  “I can’t take back what I said.”

The man paused and considered Girl.  He looked at her and at the house behind her with a look she did not understand.

“I’ve been invisible most of my life,” he started, “and I do alright.  I do yard work,” he said, and here he sliced off a cluster of leaves viciously.  Girl eyed the man uncertainly.  “Being invisible,” he said, looking at her house again, “can be useful, and you get used to it.”

“Thank you very much,” said Girl.

“Girl, don’t play where I’m working.  It’s dangerous,” he added.

“Yes sir,” said Girl, and she turned to go on.