In the three weeks since he came to live with us, Wilson has insinuated his presence into our daily lives in ways that we could not have imagined before. He arrived during my second week in hospital, accompanied by a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers, an indifferent, shiny metallic pink, helium balloon, who kept to himself and spent most of his time inspecting our living room ceiling.
By the time I arrived home, he had lost most of his shyness and had floated down to people level, his paper tag just touching the ground, joined to his solemn round/flat head by a blue paper ribbon. Now, don't get me wrong - we knew he was just a balloon, but he had an uncanny way of catching the most subtle movements in the air. A door opening, a slight breeze coming through an open window, someone walking through a room, an arm gesture - whatever - he would, without fanfare, begin to move, gliding across the floor until his forward motion ceased and he stood undecided or contemplatively until wanderlust again sent him on his way.
Wilson was without comment, but still managed to convey something - concern, loyalty, curiosity? His shiny, flat head was startling to wake up to - often he entered my front room while I slept or read, and would be in my personal space when I looked up, gently swaying several inches from my face. Someone crossing the living room might find Wilson following along behind, stopping discreetly before that person exited. I think he was happy with us in his own way - he never tried to go outside, though once we lost him for several hours and found him on the third floor, where he might have gone to have a little quiet time.
For two weeks now, we have tried to keep him mobile, cutting bits off his paper tag as he lost buoyancy. A shorter Wilson still commanded a certain amount of respect, but we could see that he was losing his focus. For the past couple of days he has been dragging his chin along the floor, and now he seems to have lost interest in life. We are wondering how to dispose of him, not quite ready to just deflate him completely - is he just, in the end, garbage - is he recyclable - should we bury him in the garden?
He has been a good companion, though a bit creepy at times, full of surprises and making us laugh. We will miss him, though we probably won't replace him. One Wilson is enough, and his would be a hard act to follow.