The Plural of Helium is Helium

He told her
to clutch the balloon tightly
since her allowance
only allowed her
the purchase of the one.
She nodded her head vigorously
so he turned his own head
and immediately spun around again
to her cry
and the sight
of the red balloon slowly floating

His mouth a slit,
he held in all his “I told you so’s
and bent down,
hoping to still find
some teachable moment.
“We’re indoors, see?”
He pointed to the ceiling,
high as it was,
and offered hope.
“Maybe there’s a way
we can reach the ribbon
and get your heart back.”
The balloon was in the shape of a heart.
Did I forget to mention that?
“We needn’t give up hope,”
he told her,
“until we’ve exhausted every possibility.
Let’s look for a ladder.”

There was no ladder.
There was no hook.
There was no maintenance man in the gym
available to help retrieve
the runaway balloon,
caught up top.
No fire fighter
nor Spider-Person came to the rescue
to save their day
with certain special equipment or abilities.
after exhausting every eventuality,
he bent down again,
and admitted defeat
– with a caveat.
“The balloon will sink
on its own,” he said,
“and maybe we can come back
and retrieve it then.”

They left.
Still searching for
that teachable moment,
he grasped for straw.
“Sometimes,” he said,
“when you make a mistake
– however small –
and you lose your heart
by accident,
you can only hope for things
to get better with time.
“And even then,” he added,
“don’t be surprised
if your heart returns to you

She cried for many hours
into the night.
He was not a good father.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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