Air – The wish, a short story

By Jo Phillips

Caught on a breeze, the rain fell in gentle waves on the balcony, shimmering lightly under the pale moonlight. Casting her eyes to the faint fairy lights in the night sky, she sat quietly on the tiled floor, back warmed slightly by the radiator heat seeping through the open door. The air was crisp and fresh, invigorating her with every breath she took. As a gust of wind blew by, the soft flutter of a thousand pairs of paper wings filled the air around her. Her lips curved up at the swaying strings of colourful paper cranes sheltered safely under the eaves. Leaning forward, she settled the rustling paper shapes by her side and patiently realigned the delicate origami creations into a neat straight line.   mountain 2 Glancing back at the Tempescope in the doorway, she saw the mistiness in the ambient weather display had cleared, promising cloudless skies for the night, and sighed with relief. She had bought the magical little weather box online and if it proved accurate, as it had for the past month or so, there would be a beautiful clear sky. She checked her watch. 10:53. She strode hurriedly into her living room before returning with a cardboard box of ornate sky lanterns, white candles, a neat ball of string and a wrapped box of matches. Setting the box down and fanning out her materials, she lowered herself into the centre. 10:55. The rain had stopped falling and the mist had faded, brightening the sky. Rubbing her hands together, she began. Methodically, she rechecked all eleven of her folded cranes, making sure that the sparklers and mini roman candles, bursting to release their scintillating lights, were safely secured. After that, it was a simple snip, tie and check, and each crane was attached to a sky lantern, dangling beneath the candles, and ready to float into the darkness as beacons of light. Gathering the crane lanterns in her arms, she cautiously balanced each one along her balcony ledge, securing them loosely with a length of string. Stepping back, she took a moment to appreciate her work. Kite-like in size, her cranes were feather-light, and swayed gently in the lingering breeze. 11:11. It had been a month since he’d left on his solo flight to Antarctica and there was still no news of his whereabouts. Inhaling deeply, she breathed out a wish for her brother, before striking a match. ‘Come home! We miss you!’ She walked the length of the railing, lighting the wicks as she went. Stolen by the wind, the lanterns and cranes floated into the air like clouds, drifting leisurely through the sky. Sitting back, she gazed fondly at the glowing cranes as the fireworks erupted in the distance, magnificent streams of colour and light sparkling in the lake’s mirrored surface.