(This story was written in an email to my brother after he left for Poland. I bought him 4 mylar balloons to say “goodbye.” One said, “Way to Go,” one said, “Sorry You Are Leaving,” and the other said, “Thanks for the things you do.” The last balloon was printed with the earth. They were meant to convey the different feelings with someone leaving for an indefinite period of time.) Here is the rest of the email:
… are still floating in the living room. One of them disappeared. One day I notice the “Way to Go” balloon was gone. I asked mom. We stood there looking … only 3 balloons. She didn’t know what happened to it. I just figured it deflated, she threw it away and forgot about it, so I just let it go.
Yesterday we were pulling out of the driveway to run errands when suddenly she got excited, “Oh look there’s the ‘way to go’.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. “Is that a type of flower?” I questioned and searched the database of my mind for a memory of a “way to go” flower or plant … you know, like a “forget me not?” There was none.
“Look over your right shoulder up in that yard,” she said. I turned and there it was, the “Way to Go” balloon tied to the neighbor’s bushes floating there informing the entire neighborhood that they did a good job.
I thought back to the day before when we had both the rear door and the front door open, allowing that warm breeze to flow through the house thus airing it out but also allowing balloons, not securely fashioned to the edge of the carpet like the other were, to wander on out the front door and explore as no other balloon before it ever had.
Still weighted down, it did not suffer a fate of ascending beyond the vision of people to see, all alone in the sky. It must have just scurried across the street, where the neighbors found it and decided to display it to the passerbys, “Way to Go,” they all can all celebrate in their victories of the day.