Saturday, April 19, 2014

Falling Sky

"Oh look, it must be somebody's birthday party.'

A black SUV hummed at a red light on Amsterdam Avenue. A swaddled net of a dozen white and blue helium balloons was strung to the back of vehicle, along with several other metallic ones with cartoon faces that pullulated the dark tint windows. I had no comment so my friend continued.

"I remember when I was a child my parents put some balloons in the car on the way back from a birthday party. When we got home from the party, they opened the door and the balloons flew out and up into the sky. I was so mad. But as a child I was always scared of the sky.'

"Wait, you were scared of the sky?"

"Well, maybe not scared but unnerved."


"Cause the sky is so huge and endless. And I always thought I was going to fall into it. And when my balloons flew up into it, it was like they were swallowed up by this abyss. That's why I never liked high altitude, because there's so much sky.'

We wandered left at 134th Street and Amsterdam and walked down a hill toward the subway station.  My friend continued on about the terrifying sky. His divagation rattled around in my head.

Suddenly I glanced up at the net of blue and white balloons floating up the hill and cresting at the fourth floor of a line of apartments. I looked down and saw the Black SUV parked by a hydrant. Passengers stared helplessly at the escaped bandits. The balloons dipped a bit in the window, teasing them. An older man began running up the hill. A few pedestrians shouted at the unruly bubbles which didn't descend lower than 30 feet before rapidly escalating upward.

I tracked the balloons ascension into the hieratic ebony ink. The white/blue globule cleared the buildings, the clouds of steam pumping out of City College, and the skyline. In a few seconds the balloons were sucked up into the adumbrated midnight.  When we reached the bottom of the hill we turned up Broadway toward the station.

"That was well-timed. I see your point."

"About what?"

"The sky."

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