Jason Webley


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The Story of Balloon

What is it about holding a balloon that is so magical and familiar? A hand that is holding a balloon is a content, happy hand. Why exactly is that? I’m sure the scientists and philosophers and marketing people have written dozens of millions of pages about this subject, but I have my own theory.

Once there was a girl. I don’t know her name, so I’ll just call her Balloon, since that’s what everyone else called her. They called her that because whenever anyone saw her, she was always holding a balloon. Always.

Whether she was walking down the street, flipping through dusty old books at the dusty old library or rotating the flowers in her garden, Balloon always was holding a balloon. Always.

I suppose it suited her to carry a balloon. Since the red of the balloon matched the red of her hair and the freckles of her cheeks and the lips of her lips. And she had shy little eyes that occasionally flashed with fire. The balloon looked good next to those little flashes of fire.

Now if you asked Balloon about the weather or such, she would look startled that someone was talking to her. Then she would blush red give a shy little answer. But if you asked her anything about the balloon - where she got it or why she always carried it - she would just go on with what she was doing just as if you had said nothing at all.

So, here is my theory. You see, Balloon never had the pleasure of knowing her father or her mother. They left when she was very, very young. Now hold you hand out like you were holding a balloon. Go ahead and really do it, since it says to right here. Now think about the other times in your life when you’ve held your hand like this. Really, think about it for a second.

Now, unless you’ve spent a lot of time on rush hour trains in Tokyo, I’m guessing that holding your hand like this is reminding you of your childhood. When you were a little boy or a little girl, walking down a street or through a park, holding onto the hand of your mother or your father.

So one day, when she was no longer a little girl – about the same age that most young people move out of their parents’ houses – Balloon walked to her favorite place in the garden. Then she closed her eyes, like someone who is making a wish would close their eyes. Now I’m not sure if she really made a wish just then, and if she did, whatever she wished for is her secret. But I do know that when she opened her eyes again there was a little tear in them.

Then she looked up at her balloon with a little smile, and let go of the string.