“Peter, I don’t know.” The two were walking down the sidewalk with an easy closeness, a bit like siblings. The familiar brownstone apartment building where they each lived wasn’t far. A giant red balloon loped along ungracefully behind them, connected to the string held firmly in her fingers. They were quite serious.
“What do you mean?” His gait slowed, and she adjusted her pace.
“What if it doesn’t come back?”
He leaned in closer. “Of course it won’t come back” The balloon tug-tugged on the string, agreeing.
This she found somehow both scary and reassuring.
After a moment, her small hand bloomed open, and the string slithered up her palm, pulled by the balloon. They watched it rise until it grew smaller, smaller, and then was high enough the air currents pulled it over the rooftops.
They finished the walk home in silence but completely present with each other. She slid her hand into his.
It felt alright, she thought.