We crossed paths one night as I walked up Two Mile Hill.
I was heading home to Takhini; I’m not sure what you were doing. Perhaps you had escaped your party duties and were making a break for it. There was a joy and freedom in the way you fluttered, and sank, and rose, and fluttered again.
My peripheral vision noticed you first — just formless green pigment darting-about against a flat background. But you made an impression — I turned my head to look at you squarely.
Neat, a green balloon, I said to myself.
And you followed me like a skittish puppy.
As the wind picked up, you raced after me on the road beside my walking path, but when I stopped to let you catch up, you would lose your wind current and bashfully keep your distance. Once, you blew up onto the snow bank beside me, no more than three metres away.
I tried to grab you, but I took one step off the path, and the snow crested the top of my shoe, wetting my sock. I aborted my mission.
Besides, I said to myself, some balloons just aren’t meant to be grabbed.
As the pitch of Two Mile Hill steepened, I lost you.
I turned around a few times, and each time you were further away. Finally, I couldn’t see you at all.
I felt a small loss, but I bent my attention to the matter of trudging home: one step after the other, head down, eyes on the greyish-brown path.
I silently scolded myself for wasting time on a green balloon.
After all, it was chilly.
By eliminating whimsical distractions I made pretty good time. Soon I could see the tip of Takhini Arena; then I was parallel with the wooden “Welcome to Whitehorse” sign that stands over its barren garden.
I had nearly forgotten you, but then there you were again. In fact, you were ahead of me — dancing.
Did you hitch a ride on the updraft of a passing truck? Never mind, I don’t really want to know. That you were there is more important than how you were there.
I increased my cadence, hoping to catch up with you. But before I could, you had passed over the walking path and were caught against the metal fence at the outer edge of the arena’s parking lot.
That is where I left you.
When I left, I didn’t know the end of your story. You were still un-popped, and that feels important; because in my mind there is still a chance you are out there, adding a little green to someone else’s peripheral vision.
Wouldn’t that be neat?
Peter Jickling is a Whitehorse playwright and the assistant editor of What’s Up Yukon