Black and white helium balloons tied with gold ribbons announce the directions of the wedding reception. They abound on the tables in the reception, mingling with flowers in glass. Another bouquet in primary colors show the neighborhood where the birthday party will be. They are tethered to the placard outside the new restaurant, a silent bugle to the masses.
Balloons—a talisman of fun. A telltale sign of where the garage sale is, they decorate the party halls, are released at the wedding, are tied around wrists at grocery stores and carnivals and parades, some bounce softly, silently at our feet.
Beacons of joy and hope—do you ever see them floating at a funeral, during a fight, at the closing of a shop?—they lose their air, deflate, pop! The sad aftermath of the balloon, hanging limp on a mailbox, strangled on a telephone wire, on a journey across the sky, bright green trampled underfoot, half deflated balloons crammed into the garbage can with ribbons still attached.
Their reason for being is spent, over, they have brightened the room, basked in admiration, the simplistic joy of a balloon reminding us of childhood, of hope, of smiled. A journey complete. C