Of love and red balloons

It sits in the corner above the cat scratching post next to the bathroom, slightly beaten up and deflating by the day. It’s one of those metallic foil balloons, the ones that I lost interest in as a child when I realized that once you got them, they only got more and more boring as time went by. No way to re-inflate them and of a texture that discouraged playing with the way a normal balloon could be — I thought they were a bad deal.

It was brought home after the wedding and since then moved from one place to the other as it inevitably got in someone’s way. First beside the front door, then to the dining room, then to the door of the newlyweds’ room, then back down to the front door, and finally to that corner where hopefully, probably, it will stay.

But just how long will it stay?

The thing is, there’s no good way to get rid of a bright red heart-shaped balloon with the words “I love you” on it past the wedding day.  Once it’s been brought home, back into the feng shui of a newly wed couple’s primary residence, it can take on a certain sort of meaning that wouldn’t be there if it had just been cavalierly handed off to someone or tossed the day of the wedding when everything was getting packed up or thrown away. Now it’s almost a symbol of the wedding, or perhaps even the marriage itself.

While it’s still floating, it seems a wanton act of destruction, even prophetic perhaps, should one just pop and toss it. So it stays, in the corner by the bathroom, taking up the airspace above the cat’s scratching post, gathering dust and dubious glances as it awaits becoming too decrepit to keep. Perhaps even once it’s slowly wilted to the point where it succumbs to gravity and flops onto the cat’s scratching post, it will be just one of those things hanging around the house that wouldn’t survive a move, but somehow just huddles in the corner because no one has the heart to put it out of it and other people’s misery.  Or, depending on sentimentality, it might get dusted off, folded up, and saved as a memento somewhere deep in a box deep in a closet.

But why bother? The mistake was in bringing it home, because ultimately it’s just a sad, dented, deflating metallic foil balloon that will only grow worse with age — better to have just let it go when it was still a happy memory and a cheerful reminder of happiness rather than what it is now and will be.

Next time, someone should be so brave as to simply pop it and toss it.

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