"Here you are!" The clown with a ridiculously wide smile said to the little boy, handing him a big red balloon. The child ran off exuberantly with his prize bobbing on its leash, tied securely to his wrist.
With each rhythmic pull, the balloon attempted to escape. Slowly floating down, then a sudden flurry of movement sending it soaring higher, only to be pulled back by the torturous string tied around its neck. But it didn't give up as the boy and his father walked around, enjoying the festival and the brisk autumn weather.
The balloon rested for a few minutes. It looked up with envy at a flock of birds. They were so happy, playing tag with the leaves and surfing on the wind.
The boy pointed up in excitement as they passed under a tree with a cat high up on a limb. Seizing the opportunity, the balloon poured every last ounce of energy it had left into one more attempt. The string tightened, straining against the boy's wrist. Then it snapped, sending the balloon tumbling through the air.
With newfound joy the balloon danced around, back and forth, all the while rising. But soon it was caught in the tree, frantically dodging sharp branches and squirrels. Back and forth, each near miss giving the balloon more determination. Nothing was going to stop it now!
The balloon burst out of the tree in a flurry of green spring leaves, only to stop in awe and wonder. In front of it was the gaping sky, an endless light blue ocean with one beautiful yellow marble of fire gliding across its expanse, at a speed so slow that it would take all the patience in the world to notice. Looking down, the balloon could see that it was now higher than the birds dared to go. Unlike the birds, it had to fight for freedom, but now it could soar above the birds' highest dreams. However, the balloon wasn't done yet. As it pushed on further into this new adventure, the faintest signs of the stars taunted it, urging it to keep going. The sky gradually made a change from light blue to a rich, deep, velvet blue, invoking feelings of mystery, infinite depth, and comfort all at once.
Finally Earth's protective cloak fell away, revealing in all their beauty the countless billions of angels in the darkness. Here the balloon changed course. It chose to follow the arm of The Milky Way which arced across the sky, a breathtaking stairway to Heaven, a rainbow for the universe.
The balloon was getting frantic. No matter how fast it moved, the stars never seemed to get closer. And as if that wasn't enough, it was starting to slow down. Finally it came to a point where it could no longer move. It just hung there, in between the prison it loathed and the beauty it yearned for. No sound, no movement, no feeling. It couldn't go up, and wouldn't go down.
Then, in that moment of despair, he burst. With no one to cry over him, no one near who loved him, his existence ended. His shredded, hollow body fell down, gradually breaking down into shimmering glitter. His remains fluttered onto another little boy, with another father, buying another balloon, which was already trying frantically to escape. But our little red hero was now forever free to roam the universe with no leash, no harness, no body. Just his new soul... for eternity.
You need to be logged in to comment