They walked, the three of them towards the crest of the hill. Girl and canines. Eyes looking only forward, the family knew nothing else but walking. It had been so very long, the journey. For the younger dog it was the only life she knew. That of walking, moving all the time. But she didn’t mind. She felt safe with her female human and male canine elder. They were a unit. Heart and soul. Where the human went so went the canines – Dog and Doggette.
There were memories that bothered the Girl. Ancient video-like clips, snippets really, that partially played in the only moviehouse left. Her mind. She’d been on the path for as long as she could remember. The memories of course were grey. Grey as the sky and like the sky always seemed to threaten something….would it rain awful memories soaking her in riveluts of regret? Would a hailstorm of past choice and decision sweep her off her feet and throw her against a wall of winsome longing? The longing of making it right?
“Sh-sh-sh! Come over here. Dog! Bring Doggette over here boy. Come on. Let’s go. We’re getting closer. I just know it.”
The lifetime legacy of this little family appeared now to be at the precipace of truth. They were almost there. Almost to the gates of the land of Dead Balloons. Surely, the dogs felt it as the Girl did. The sense of relief that, at long last, they might rest. Weariness dripped slowly, steadily from them like raindrops through a maple tree and the feeling…. the feeling that there was a chance to settle somewhere, pooled around their feet. And paws. Girl knew, as did Dog and Doggette, that what lay before them was the opportunity through which they could finally find their way.
Girl stepped through the gate first. Dog tried to insist he go first but she could not allow it. Human first. Whoo-oo-s-sh… she felt it like a blast to her brain. It almost knocked her off her feet. Dog saw this and started to run to her. “NO!” screamed Girl. “Not yet, Dog. Wait buddy, I’m alright.” Girl steadied herself and tried to take a deep breath. It was difficult. So very little air here. It was no wonder that this place was littered with all of these dead Balloons. What a desperate landscape of deflated hopes and dreams, desires and destinies…thwarted by what? Lack of oxygen? A simple lack of air? A lack of will to make them airborne? To make them fly?
As she took a deep breath, Girl looked back and motioned the dogs forward. As they did so she began to exhale, carefully. She rotated her body a full 360 degrees as she let go of her last breath, until the dogs had reached her side. Girl looked around at the devestation around her. So much to do, so many to inflate. “Come on guys, we have a lot of work to do”.