Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red Balloon

She wakes up in the morning. Drinks her cup of coffee. Decaf now. Takes her pills, listens to a little Michael Buble. Showers. Gets dressed for the day and says.. A prayer.

She gets into her blue Ford Taurus and makes the short drive to the local Albertson's. Here everyone knows her as Mrs. Albert Hansen. She has been Mrs. Albert Hansen now for 57 years.
She will always be Mrs. Albert Hansen.

Today is no different than any other day. The sky is a brilliant blue. Nary a cloud. Above a helicopter buzzes by bound for the hospital. She has just an hour or two before the sun comes beating down. Relentlessly.

She looks over the display and chooses. She silently stands in the checkout line. Her lipstick still evenly applied. She pays, walks to her car, gets in and heads toward the mountain preserve.

She parks. Gets out of her car tenderly holding her purchase as she goes. Up to the mountain.
She's never climbed a mountain. Its more difficult than she realized. Yet she perseveres. After all she is on a mission. She takes breaks. She considers calling her children. She feels dizzy, unsettled. She hadn't realized she is afraid of heights.

At last the summit. A cloud floats by. A hint of creosote in the air. She can see the edges of the city. A lone hawk circles expectantly.

She talks to him. Letting him know she is alright. The children are alright. The grandchildren too. Then at last she says another prayer and releases a red balloon. She is sure he can see it even in Heaven.