“Mommy, do you see the hole in the sky?”
Peyton’s gymnastics class is close to a strip mall with a grocery store and a chain restaurant that sells fresh chicken, rice, and veggie bowls. Sometimes, after gymnastics, it’s nice to stop and get a healthy dinner, then head to the grocery store for whatever we need for home, and maybe a treat. Today is one of those sometimes days and we’ve just finished our chicken bowls, so we’re heading across the parking lot for our treat.
“Mommy, do you see the hole in the sky?” I didn’t realize how distracted I was until I hear her little voice sounding more urgent than usual.
“Hole in the sky? What do you mean?” Peyton’s six year old mind is always merging fantasy and reality, so I think some clarification might be useful.
“There!” She points right above the supermarket.
My eye follows where her little index finger leads, and I am surprised to find that there does appear to be something above the store. It is flat and disc-shaped, the diameter maybe equal to a school bus. I squint, then put on the prescription sun glasses I know I should have been wearing all along.
“Can we go up there?” Peyton is excited. I am always proud of her fearless, adventuresome spirit that keeps her trying in gymnastics class and curious enough to want to climb to the top of the grocery store.
I nod and we ascend in the glass elevator to the rooftop portion of the parking lot. There are solar panels atop the car covers, so as we scale the metal structure, I guide my daughter’s feet, along with my own, to avoid stepping on the panels. The disc is softening in contrast against the blue sky, which is mostly clear—only a puff or two of clouds near the horizon to the east. I stop Peyton’s hands from raising, a bit concerned as to what the disc actually is. I softly use my own fingertips to try and stroke this foreign, cylindrical thing above us. As we stand on top of the carport, on top of the supermarket, it takes less than my arm length to reach what we had seen from the parking lot on the ground below.
As I reach up, I quickly gather that my daughter had been right. There is really nothing to stroke. It is indeed a hole in the sky. I put my daughter on my shoulders and we look through the hole. Our heads peak into a sea of colorful shapes. There are butterflies and diamonds and hearts and Chinese dragons—all with strings sticking straight up. As I look up the length of each string, I notice it is attached to a person—one a little child staring right back at me. How curious these people upside down through this hole in the sky.
“Kites!” Peyton shouts, thrilled with her discovery.
“Kites?” I wonder if I am asking my daughter, myself, or no one at all.
Under the child’s feet, who I thought was floating in the sky, is grass. Suddenly, I am aware that from his perspective, it is Peyton and I, not he, who is upside down in the sky. I grip Peyton’s legs a little tighter and enjoy her giggles as we stand, my feet firm on the top of the carport, hanging in the sky of kites.