Seaside Cliffs Near Big Sur, California

When I lifted my eyes from the book I was reading, I didn’t see my brother in the sky. I set the book beside me in the sand. I was fresh from my second year at Michigan State, spending part of my summer in California with my older brother, hoping to learn to glide. I was the youngest of four brothers, the least athletic, the reader of books, the writer of stories.

A couple of hang gliders waited on the cliffs, and there was one coming in for a slow, gentle landing on the hill, but no sign of my brother, who had been hovering like a gull three hundred feet above the ocean just seconds before. The sky was clear blue above the water and sand and cliffs that blocked some of my view. Still, I couldn’t see the red triangle of my brother’s kite; it was not where it should have been.

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