Happiness. I always get a rush of pure happiness when this simple word is followed by this little being with the big bright eyes.
- Mommy could not come today.
- Mommy had to go to the doctor.
- Mommy is ill.
- Come, let's change your shoes, we are going home now.
I always wonder when should I stop the why train. Vicky always manages to get to places I don't know how to answer.
- Can I go in the yellow balloon?
- Of course!
- Yeah! I am going in the yellow balloon. I am going in the yellow balloon.
Another rush. I have truly been blessed everyday for the last 4 years. I let myself watch Vicky as she jumped around, and has she jumped around she wanted to make sure every kid knew that she was going home in the yellow balloon.
We pulled the yellow balloon from the locker, it was still full of air, floating against the locker's ceiling. It was there as if by magic knowing of this one more mission, to take Vicky home safely.
I dressed her up with the pink water suit and the green gummy boots. It's raining outside and we will not be able to go to the playground. I didn't have a backup plan, would have to rely on my improvisation for the long hours Ana would be undergoing the exams.
On the way out, Vicky passed by her friend Isabella. They talked very happily in their very unique magical language to which grownups are not invited. I did get the words yellow and balloon, I saw Vicky's excitement, and I got a feeling for Isabella wanting to come with Vicky.
Rain. Still hasn't stopped raining for the last 2 weeks, sunshine would surely be welcomed by us. As we got out I could hear the sound of a little trampoline, almost as high as a musical high pitched drum. It was the sound of raindrops on the yellow balloon. The yellow balloon was Vicky’s umbrella.
The yellow balloon looked like a small private sun very bright, making an high contrast with the pink water suit. The yellow balloon was glowing privately for Vicky as if responding to her smile. Vicky’s smile became wider and the balloon intensified it’s glow.
The yellow balloon seemed to be growing, getting bigger and bigger, the raindrops getting louder and louder drumming on the yellow balloon. Suddenly the yellow balloon was covering the sky above me, and Vicky was holding to the yellow balloon.
The yellow balloon was moving upwards, and Vicky as well. I held on to Vicky legs as the yellow balloon pulled Vicky into the sky. I got nervous, afraid of the yellow balloon taking my little Vicky. But Vicky felt my fear and smiled back at me.
- Papi! We are flying, we are flying.
Somehow, knowing this bigger than life experience seemed usual to Vicky, I relaxed a bit. Vicky was feeling my restlessness.
- Papi! We are going home in the yellow balloon.
- We sure are Vicky. Put your legs tightly around my shoulders.
Vicky was holding tight, I surely felt Vicky happy to be going home in the yellow balloon with her father.
- Papi, I don’t want to go to Neverland and the pirates. I want to go with Peter Pan when I am like this.
She showed me her stretched hands with the ten finders up. Who is holding the balloon ? The Fox in purple superhero costume was holding the balloon in one hand and Vicky on the other. Good thing we discovered the Fox, he used to protect Vicky from bad dreams and from the darkness. Always good to have him around.
We passed the green gardens on the way home. Our neighbors looking at us and waving, they always exchanged accomplice smiles with Vicky. She knew all of them.
- Hello Vicky! What a beautiful yellow balloon you have there.
Vicky would just smile, giggle and look back.
- Hello Vicky! Papa came to pick you up today.
And Vicky would smile, laugh and wave back. She stretched her arms, mimicking a pink plane. Looked like the Fox was riding the plane and holding the yellow balloon. The Fox smiled back at me, I could read in his eyes that he would always be there to protect Vicky.
We saw the cars passing on the street, the other kids with their parents looking from the windows at Vicky. I believe they all wanted to be in Vicky’s place. Vicky was flying home in the yellow balloon.
Isabella waved her little arm from the window of the small red car.
- Vicky! You are flying in the yellow balloon!
Vicky stretched her arms in the direction of Isabella, and showed the full ten finger from both hands.
- Yes, I am flying, and when I am like this, I am going to fly with Peter Pan to Neverland and the Pirates.
- Bye bye Vicky!
We saw Isabella move away waving her little arm from the window of the small red car. The small red car became smaller as it moved away from us.
We could see the clouds above us, the clouds looked familiar. I could see Rapid the rabbit. I could see Hearty the lion. I could see Uli the owl. I could see Mickey Mouse. And Vicky knew all the clouds. She waved at the clouds telling me excited the names of all of them as we flew by.
We passed by the retirement home. The woman with fluffy white hair and round cheeks looked and smiled at Vicky. The woman with the silver hair and long nose looked at Vicky in disapproval. The lady in blue with the big round glasses clapped her hands as we passed by.
- Papi! Fast, Papi, fast Papi!
Vicky didn't want to be too long there. She saw the old bald man in black holding the big stick. He’s nose was reminded us of an eagle. His eyes were red and we could see the lasers coming out. If the lasers pierced the balloon we would be in danger. I moved frantically my legs as if I was swimming away from of the crocodile, and we moved as fast as we could increasing our distance from the old bald man in black.
We could see the stone fountain in front of the house. We were getting closer to safety. But Vicky didn't want to go into the house yet. She wanted to talk with all the stones in the fountain. So she approached the stones. It had stopped raining. The sky was clear now, the clouds had changed color from grey to white.
I looked at her, as she gently placed her green gummy books on top of the first stone. She was holding the yellow balloon tight in her hand. She touched the stone with the other hand, and the black stone turned white. She jumped from one stone to the next circling the fountain of the big stones. With each step of the green gummy boots the stones turned to white.
As she jumped around the big stones fountain, the stones made all the fountain look like a circular piano, with the stones in place of the keys in the huge piano keyboard. In my mind I could listen to the tune. She was playing happy birthday as she jumped from stone to stone, as she pressed each big key.Vicky was happy, she had turned 4 years old just 2 weeks ago. Somehow everyday ever since looked like it was her birthday. That was the day I decided to write her present for when she was twenty. That day this book was born.