Release the Balloons
Well, I wasn’t going to post tonight, which is why I didn’t have my camera, which is why you’ll forgive me these pictures.
‘I don’t know,’ I answered Daddy, staring into the night sky, forgetting whatever our topic of conversation was. ‘It looks likes flames.’
‘Yeah, it does, flying south…’
‘Not planes, flames… It looks like small floating things on fire.’
‘Oh, yeahhh…’ he mused.
We were silent, staring off into the sky in the direction we were walking.
‘If I were a conspiracy theorist,’ I piped up, ‘I’d say they were UFOs. Talk about X-Files…’ I stopped to take another picture.
‘And here I thought it was the pints of Guinness!’ an older gent passing me remarked as he walked by, watching me watch the sky. I chatted with him and his friend as Daddy stood and photographed.
‘This is how it begins!’ I asserted, thinking that the alien invasion will happen when everyone thinks that somebody else knows what’s going on.
We walked close enough that whatever it was in the sky were larger above us, and were now coming more from our left than front. I could see flashing lights in the distance that way. ‘You wanna see what it is?’ I asked Daddy.
‘Yeah!’ he replied, evocative of this trip, wherein we played off each other’s impulses and never had a moment’s disagreement.
We turned left and headed down the street. A crowd was gathered, and there were police and fire, but they were safekeeping instead of shooting or saving. Children ran by me on the sidewalk.
‘Called it,’ I gloated as we neared a paper balloon attached to a makeshift wire frame, with some kind of soaked torch at its centre, lit on fire and filling the paper semi-sphere with hot air. The man released the ballon and it floated into the air.
We watched the spectacle, wandering around the intersection as cars still passed slowly through traffic.
‘Here you guys are!’ a friend called to another friend, meeting up and falling back towards my left.
When their conversation trailed off, I turned to one of the girls. ‘What is it?’ I asked.
She mumbled, cleared her throat, and the said, ‘I think it’s for all of the people in the area who have died; they’re sending their souls off into…’ her beautiful brogue trailed off as she stopped talking.
I lit one balloon in my mind. A boy—a young adolescent—held it, his pale plain face a bit rough, his wide mouth and wide eyes determined as they looked at his white balloon. It was lit, and he kept tossing it into the air, only to watch it tumble feebly back towards earth.
‘He’ll never…’ Daddy started. We mumbled about physics together as the boy futilely tossed his ballon up.
Wandering into the street with no regard for traffic, he finally caught in that he had to hold the balloon and wait for it to fill.
‘That’s it!’ I called to him, ‘Just hold it there…’
He held it, but finally he had to let it go. As he turned to look back towards the crowd, a gust of wind lifted the balloon a good twenty feet to clear the street, ensuring its journey off into the southern night sky.