by David G. Blake
David G. Blake lives in Pennsylvania with his girlfriend and their chocolate Labrador. His fiction has previously been published in Nature, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and several other publications.
“What’s it like when they shut one down, Papa?”
Sarah watched me, her emerald eyes cut with a purity I refused to blemish. I lied to her instead. “I don’t know, sweetie.”
“I bet it’s a lot like being a kite that’s lost and floating high in the sky.”
The truth veered more toward being the one punished for losing the kite, yet I spared her again. “That sounds wonderful.”
“I’ll ask Mother. She knows everything.”
Nothing could be further from what I wanted. Her mother would grind that beautiful innocence into a nub of ugly truth. I calmed myself by imagining I really was like a lost kite soaring high. It felt so . . . so free.
“You know she’ll be tired when she gets home from work. Put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, and go to bed. We can talk tomorrow.”
Her bottom lip jutted in an exaggerated pout and she stomped away; but it was not in her nature to stay mad for long. She poked her head out from the bathroom a few moments later. “I love you, Papa,” she said, her smile an aureole of smeared toothpaste and happiness.
“I love you, sweetheart.” A truth that magnified my suffering a hundredfold and made it somehow bearable at the same time.
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