Three days ago, the balloon made its escape.
It was a rather unremarkable creature, a red metallic mylar variety in the shape of a heart, given to the child by an admirer on Friday, February 13th. It lived for quite some time in our abode, absently scuffling across the living room ceiling, like a lethargic, caged tiger. It made an eerie scraping noise that would startle me from time to time. When it got bored, it would wander over to the ceiling fan to be batted across the room. It tried escaping once before, out through the kitchen and into the garage. I found it by the rose bushes out in front of the house, but it was a cold and dreary day, and the balloon was sluggish, being cold-blooded, and it hung down near the ground and I re-captured it and brought it back inside.
On the day of the successful escape, it made its way out into the back yard and sat sunning itself on the grass until I noticed it, too late. I moved to grab its string, but it had gathered just enough energy and warmth that it began to rise up into the air - I leapt up to catch it, but the ribbon grazed my fingers and it was off, floating above the rooftops. It ran into my neighbor's TV antennae, and I hoped she was not watching anything at the moment, experiencing a strange interruption in her broadcast, but then laughed at the notion of someone still using a TV antenna (no one does, right?).
I was glad the child was napping at the time of escape, for I'm fairly certain he would have been distressed and wailed for some time at the idea of the balloon never coming back, though he had long forgotten it and had neglected punching and pummeling it for many days.
I watched it drift out over the neighborhood, and then it was gone.