I thought I would take a break from adoption-related blogging to share a personal story. I've had a bit of writer's block lately and I'm hoping that telling this story will help get the words flowing a bit better. Anyway.
Today I am going to share a story about balloons.
I moved into my apartment on January 1st. It is a beautiful apartment, much nicer than I had any right to expect, but it's mine just the same. One of the things I liked about it is the sliding door in the living room that leads to a surprisingly spacious patio. The patio is shaded by a roof but also by this big gorgeous tree right outside. So I can open the curtains and let the sunshine in without raising the temperature of my apartment by 15 degrees (which is a hazard here if you've got an un-shaded window).
The day after I moved into my apartment, January 2nd, I opened the curtains to let a little light in. I discovered that three mylar balloons were attached to a tree branch outside my patio.
"Oh, how nice," I said to myself. "It's someone's birthday." They looked to me like the sort of balloons a little girl might have at her party, and I thought that perhaps my downstairs neighbors, who I hadn't yet met, had a little girl, and that they'd put the balloons in the tree for her birthday. I pictured a small party on the downstairs patio, with party hats and a pastel-iced cake and a pigtailed birthday girl.
I went to church that morning with that delightful image in my mind. When I came home from church several hours later, the balloons were still in the tree. "Perhaps," I said to myself, "the party was just this afternoon, and they haven't yet got around to taking down the decorations." When my family came over for dinner that evening, I pointed out the balloons with a smile.
The next morning, I opened the curtains so my houseplant Rufus could get some sun. To my surprise, the balloons were still in the tree. This puzzled me. Didn't the birthday girl want her balloons in the house where she could be a nuisance with them? I squinted at the pink ribbons to which the balloons were attached. To my surprise, the ribbon was not neatly tied, but rather a tangle - knots tied in knots. Closer inspection (in the form of my leaning dangerously far over the edge of my balcony) showed that the balloons were not tied to the tree branch. They were stuck to the tree branch, and it didn't look intentional.
Well, this was interesting. Some little birthday girl had lost her balloons. But I told myself, a storm was in the forecast, and the wind would certainly remove the balloons from my tree. I went inside and closed the patio door. I noticed a splash of pink on my floor. I poked at it with my foot, which turned pink. I turned around and saw the sunlight catching on the heart-shaped balloons, causing the pink to bounce from the surface of the balloons to the surface of my living room floor.
This vexed me. And as the sun rose higher, my living room was bathed in a rosy glow. This vexed me further. But, I thought, the wind was coming in a few days, and my problem would be solved. I learned to be careful in my living room when looking up, to make sure a ray of mylar-assisted sunshine didn't burn my retinas.
The storm came, and the winds blew. A large branch of the lovely tree snapped, and hundreds of leaves were blown away. The tree no longer provided quite the degree of shade it had before. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that the weather had failed me. I kept my curtains open the night of the storm, which gave proof through the night that my balloons were still there. Oh, the rain had hit them, certainly, and other storms did as well. They looked shabby indeed by the middle of February. And at this point, one of the heart balloons had conceded defeat and, deflated, was carried away by a breeze. The other heart balloon, which had by now lost a great deal of its luster, had more room to wiggle with the absence of its twin. Now I found that it was impossible to sit on the sofa and not be blinded by a piercing beam of sunlight. I couldn't predict when they'd hit. The breeze was fickle. Just when I'd convince myself it was safe, the wind would shift.
It was quite the inconvenience, but I grew used to it. After a few weeks, I even began to enjoy the flashes of blinding pink on my living room. It reminded me a bit of a suncatcher I had as a little girl. I'd enjoyed the rainbows my suncatcher made, and I learned to enjoy the pink graffiti in my living room. Where I had once checked the balloons each morning for signs of wear and tear, I now simply averted my gaze when I opened the curtains.
A few weeks ago, after a late-winter storm, I arose one morning to find that the dark pink balloon was gone!
I hardly knew what to do with myself without that last heart balloon fluttering at me in the breeze. But as the weeks passed, I grew accustomed to a single annoying balloon in my tree. I re-learned what times of day it was safe to sit on the couch or at the kitchen table. I adapted, and I marveled at the tenacity of that balloon that should have blown away ages ago.
This morning I opened my curtains as usual. I didn't think to glance outside. I was busy getting ready for work. But when I got home from work and sat down on the couch to relax for a moment, I looked out the sliding glass door to my patio, and much to my surprise ...
... the birthday balloon was gone. Only a knot of filthy ribbons remains.
And that's that.
Oh, I suppose there ought to be a moral. Good stories have morals, right? Well, let's see ...
In many ways, my experience with the balloons is a lot like life. Life is full of annoyances, some of which we have to face every single day, but if we stick it out ... um, the weather will get rid of them? Something like that. Sorry, morals aren't my forte.
But the dang balloons are finally all gone! Isn't that exciting? I'm excited.
Maybe I should stick to writing about adoption.