Blue balloon

Today, as I was waiting for the express train uptown, I saw a blue balloon wander onto the platform. I’m not sure where it came from — it may have sailed across the tracks.

It was one of those helium filled toy balloons, except that this one was clearly nearing the end of its aerial life. It was hovering about two or three feet in the air, just high enough to lift most of its string.

After I got on the train, I saw, to my surprise, the same balloon floating up the aisle toward me. Along with the other passengers, I watched, astonished, as it meandered here and there, wandering from person to person. Then, as the doors were about to close, it drifted toward the door nearest to me. I thought for a moment it would stay with us, but at the very last second, just as the doors were closing, it darted out, dragging its string behind, and was gone.

As the train pulled out of the station, I found myself grinning. I looked around to see whether anybody else was as enchanted as I was. An older hispanic man, wearing a fedora, was also smiling ear to ear. He and I made eye contact.

“It came in that door over there,” he said to me, pointing excitedly, “drifted up the aisle toward us, then scooted out this door here.”

“Maybe,” I suggested, “it was waiting for the local.”

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