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The Frailty of Life

Added: Monday, May 10th 2010 at 11:32am by khakicat
Category: About Me > About Me > Emotions
Related Tags: life, people, death

     My perspective of life changed in one simple experience involving an old man and a wrinkled balloon. The balloon was nearly out of helium. The man was nearly out of time.

     It all started as I was enjoying a spring afternoon at the park, reading a book and people-watching. I saw a couple of girls sitting on top the monkey bars whispering their all important fourth grade secrets to each other. I watched a dad gently push his little daughter down a slide, while four or five third grade boys ran screaming across the playground, trying to avoid the one who was obviously "it". Two moms sat at a picnic table chatting while their toddlers played in the sandbox nearby. Each group was in their own happy world; their cares and concerns drowning in the warm spring sunshine.

     The sunlight glinted off a nearly deflated birthday balloon as it floated overhead. It gradually fell lower and lower as the helium leaked out of its crumpled form. One of the little boys noticed it and chased it through the park until it had sunken low enough to be captured. This balloon which was once used to brighten up someones birthday was again making children happy. I smiled at the thought.

     Then I noticed an old man trudging along on the sidewalk. His shoulders were tense and hunched as if he were trying to protect himself from pain. His gray head was bent. One hand fiddled with something in his pocket as his feet shuffled him homeward. As he passed by me he glanced up at the happy scene in the park. A mixture of pain and sorrow flashed through his face. He then looked up at me, but his eyes were now empty; his face was expressionless. I managed a small smile, but he turned away. Though physically he looked strong, with his broad shoulders and considerable height; it was merely a shell. Whoever he was, whatever he had been, was already gone. His body was just waiting to follow.

     He reminded me of the balloon---crumpled and nearly empty, sinking toward the ground. The balloon was serving its last purpose before it would be thrown away and forgotten. Yet, it seemed as if the man had already been discarded and abandoned. Neither the man nor the balloon had any control of their fate. The balloon had been blown, miles perhaps, by the wind until it finally fell to earth where its remaining life would be trampled and squeezed out of it. The man's hunched shoulders testified of how he too had been battered and bruised by the winds of life. Like the balloon, I'm sure he had been carried through many happy scenes; but now the wind was fading, and like the balloon, he was falling.

    When the man's faded shell and the balloon's crumpled form met that day, the similarity stunned me. I saw that life can be changed and formed as easily as the wind blows a balloon through the sky. This frailty of life was displayed vividly in a balloon that was too empty to fly, and a man who was too empty to smile.

User Comments

Wow, what a great story!

You are a good story-teller, this could be the beginning of a novel.

Very well written...and you're so right, life is ever so fragile.

Very thought provoking!

Very, very good!  Great story telling.  You painted a very detailed picture in my mind.

That was a very good story, it shows how fragile life really is, thanks for sharing.

Interesting story!! Thanks for posting it, for all to see!! :)

~bursts into song...

Aqualung, my friend, don't you start away uneasy, you poor old sod, you see it's only me....


Wonderful dear

You have a great imagination. Once again I have found no critisims. I was able to visualize every aspect of your story, understood your meaning perfectly and enjoyed every second of your writing. You have great talent, imagination and a wonderful way of telling your stories. Keep up the great work, you have just made me so very envious of you lol. Have a great night take care!

lol thank you! I'm glad I was able to get the things out of my head in a way that you can visualize it! Sometimes that can be the hardest part of writing. Hope you have a great day, afternoon, night, or whatever it is when you read this. =)

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