Dan Chaon

" She was standing in the yard when the knot around her wrist had unloosened. She remembers it clearly- the balloon, unmoored, lifting up. She'd clutched for the string but missed, and it kept rising and rising, shrinking, listlessly disappearing into clear expanse of sky.

She couldn't believe, back then, that things could be lost forever, that they could be irretrievable. She stood out there in the yard for most of the afternoon, shouting at the sky, commanding it, stomping her foot.

"Come back!" she called, and held her arms up, pleading. "Come back! Come back! Come back!"

She just wants a second chance, she thinks. She just wants to be able to think a moment before she takes another step into her life, to pause and trace along the edges of the people she might become, but already they are putting a plastic mask over her face, already they are talking to her about breathing and bearing down, and she doesn't know what she wants yet. She doesn't know." Dan Chaon

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