by Jace Daniel (b. 1969)
There once was a balloon on a string. This balloon was your very favorite color, and it belonged to a very fortunate child. A child that had everything.
As fortunate children do, this child spent its time running and jumping and playing, being popular with all its friends. Busy with other more important things, the fortunate child paid no attention to the balloon, and before long, the balloon began to feel unneeded. Taken for granted, the balloon did not feel very much at home, and dreamed of other places it would rather be.
One day, as the fortunate child was busy running and jumping and playing with its friends, it got careless. It forgot about the balloon for a moment, and the balloon got away. The balloon began ascending up to the sky, above the rooftops, toward the sun. Free. The balloon kept rising, higher and higher, dreaming of other places it would rather be, the sun becoming larger and larger in its sight.
Before very long, the balloon got tired. It had gone as high as it could go, and could get no closer to the sun. It began descending back down to the rooftops, slowly pulled down by the weight of its string. It kept falling down from the sky, lower and lower, with the sun becoming smaller and smaller in its sight.
Before very very long, as the balloon descended below the lowest rooftop, two little hands reached up and grabbed the balloon by the string, holding it tightly, not letting go. Ten little fingertips carefully pulled the balloon down, paying all of their attention to the balloon. A little nose smelled the balloon, rubbing the balloon. A little mouth smiled at the balloon, kissing the balloon. Two curious eyes admired the balloon, for, just like you, this balloon was their very favorite color. Suddenly needed, and no longer taken for granted, the balloon felt very much at home, and could dream of no other place, high or low, where it would rather be.
And so the two little hands tied the string to the wheelchair.
Special thanks to Albert Lamorisse.