“What’s wrong?”
[Shakes sleepy head.]
“Wah, the gas went out of my balloon over night.”
“Oh, you poor thing.” [Big hug. Wipe tears from her cheek. She got a helium balloon at the Protestant costume party yesterday.] “Eat your cereal. Or would you like toast?”
[Shakes head again.]
“Maybe we should take a look at your balloon.”
“You know, this is a common phenomenon with helium balloons. They’re a little porous and the gas leaks out overnight. Let’s try cutting off the string and see if that helps.”
[Skeptical look.]
[Child and big sister watch dad cut string, release balloon, which sinks oh-so-slowly to floor.]
“Well, that’s a little better, heh. Let me try one more thing.” [Rubs balloon on shirt, sticks it to wall.]
“Yay!” [She tries sticking balloon to various places on wall.]
[Big sister goes back to brushing her hair.]

Later, saw Teddy-Bear Guy in traffic again. He’s about 35, sandy hair, rides in the back seat of a beige compact car driven by a woman in her 50s. He looks straight ahead and holds a medium-sized teddy bear to his lips. There is a “handicapped” decal adhered to the rear window of the car.

I wonder if the tortoise is still hibernating. She’s in a box in the cellar. I should check on her.

3 responses to “Presence

  1. Tim

    Do you really have a hibernating tortoise, or is that some sort of “It puts the lotion in the bucket” thing?

    And…you should buy Teddy-Bear Guy a Domokun:
    That way he can be handicapped “in style”!

  2. I work with a rider at the school who has a modus operandi similar to Teddy Bear Guy’s. This young man likes to smell each item in the grooming box before he uses it on the horse. He puts a brush to his nose, and just stands there, smelling it and smiling. It’s impossible to be impatient with him…he looks so happy.

  3. miguel

    Ah, the horse smell.
    That reminds me of a family deathbed story: An old female relative of my paternal grandmother (horsey Swedes from Montana)lay dying and her last wish was to feel the nose of a horse. So they led one to the window of her room and stuck its head through for her.

    I’m thinking that school does some people good.

    (The tortoise is real.)