I walked home down 20th street, toward a small brown-skinned Indigenous girl, maybe five years old, standing on the sidewalk. She was wearing a pink raincoat, rubber boots, and carrying a big gold foil balloon in the shape of a star, but overfilled with helium so it puffed up like a marshmallow. I waved at her and she waved back, at the same time letting go of the ribbon wrapped around her little mitten. The balloon escaped into the sky. She didn’t cry or scream, which surprised me, instead we just stood there for a minute and watched it ascend.
Moments of beautiful sparkling life, the significance of which will never be known to people who hit the lock button and speed by the inner city on their daily drive from the suburbs to downtown or the east side and back.
Illustration by Fatin Chowdhury: “Marshmallow star on 20th street”.
Originally recounted as a social media update, because why not?