Saturday, March 1, 2014

on the way home

"Number 399...." a distant voice said. "Number 399?"
Winning a door prize is exciting stuff.
There had been an endless parade of happy winners clutching their loot.
And now, this one last number.
I hastened forward to claim the goods.

It wasn't a hoodie with a university logo.
It wasn't a coffee mug or a bulging book bag or a framed print or gift certificate to the salon.
It wasn't a potted plant or flowers either.
Those treasures were already being carted off, the spoils of war.

A huge bouquet of helium balloons was thrust into my hands.
Great black and white balloons with Holstein spots.
It felt like I'd been to the circus, or the PNE, or a birthday party at a dairy......
It felt festive and foolish at the same time.
I bopped and joggled them through the doorways and out into the windy courtyard.
The very windy courtyard.
I hunched against the icy stream of air and towed my bouquet along.
And then briefly, it towed me along and I turned and towed and turned again.
I struggled to open the car door, to stuff the bouquet into the back seat. Each balloon seemed determined to make a break for the skies but I manfully subdued them.
I dove behind the steering wheel and glanced into my rear view mirror to back up.
The balloon bouquet had recovered.
It had risen like a Phoenix from the ashes.
Not good.
Out I struggled and out they struggled, back into the wind.
A brief flurry til I opened my trunk and pushed the balloons in.
Helium and gravity were at odds.
It took both hands to beat them into submission.

I was at a writer's festival today.
Somehow those balloons seem the perfect reminder.
They remind me that writing is fun, even a celebration.
That taking things too seriously is a mistake.
And that effort and struggle may be necessary on the way home.

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