My name is Matilda, and I am a White Wicker Rocking Chair. I live on a balcony in a big high rise building at the edge of the ocean. I thought I knew everything there was to know because I was always observing the world around me. One day a Purple Balloon flew by. “Hello. I’m Matilda. I know everything, but I don’t know you. Where are you coming from and where are you going?”
“I was on my way to a birthday party and I got lost. I am going wherever the wind will take me,” the Purple Balloon said.
“You should have been careful,” I answered.
“I was, but everything happens for a reason,” the Purple Balloon replied.
“I never heard of that, and I know everything.”
“Maybe you don’t know everything. Maybe some day something unexpected will happen to you, too,” the Purple Balloon told me.
“You were careless and you got carried away. Nothing like that is ever going to happen to me. I will always be right here, where I belong.”
“You don’t know what might happen in the future. Some extraordinary journey might be waiting for you. Anything is possible. There’s more to this world than what you see from your balcony,” the Purple Balloon answered.
“I know there is an ocean, and boats, and birds, and fish and clouds that change into different shapes, and children that play in the sand and build castles, and people that collect seashells. I know there are sailboats and ocean liners and rafts and beach balls and airplanes and rainbows. I know all of that because I see it.”
“Do you know from the other side of this building there are different things to see?”
“I can see everything that I need to see, and I know everything that I need to know. I don’t want to listen to you anymore.”
“Someday you will understand,” the Purple Balloon whispered, and he vanished.
A few months passed, and every once in a while I thought about the Purple Balloon. I wondered where the wind took him. Then, one morning the sun disappeared. The sky filled with dark clouds. Tremendous waves in the ocean came leaping on the beach. The branches on the trees started to shake. Huge flocks of birds went soaring by. I had never seen the sky or the ocean like that before. I asked one of the birds flying by, “Do you know what’s happening?”
“There’s a hurricane coming,” the bird replied.
“What’s that?” I called out.
The bird answered, “You will find out,” as he rushed away. Suddenly, I was lifted into the air. I started to fly. I flew higher and higher over my building, and over other streets. The force of the hurricane kept twirling me faster and faster. I was lifted above clouds, and I couldn’t see the beach or the ocean or my building anymore.
Finally the storm was over. I floated closer to earth. I saw the Purple Balloon resting in a tree. When he glanced up, he watched me dancing in the sky, and he smiled. I waved at him, filled with wonder. Then I landed on my balcony. I was home.
I never saw the Purple Balloon again. He is on his journey, and I am on mine. I keep his memory in my heart, and I hope one day he will touch your life too.
~ Phyllis Barash, Miami Beach, Florida