The Balloon

I'm eating lunch alone in a restaurant.
It is Valentine's Day (the day of truce in the battle of the sexes).
In celebration for decoration there are balloons on strings tied to chairs.
Red and white.

A father and daughter come in to pick up a to-go order.
The girl is quite young. Walking but maybe not yet talking.
She goes directly to the chair with the red balloon and looks up.
She touches the string.

The food is brought, packaged, and paid for.
I catch the waiter's eye and suggest the balloon be given to the girl.

His assent is immediate. The father smiles.
Without words the balloon is untied from the chair and the string is handed to the girl.

I whisper, "Better tie it around her wrist."

They leave with their food.
The balloon (full of joy) is flying high and needs to be lowered to get through the door.

An older man has raised his voice from a nearby booth. He is not smiling.

"I agree, you should have one, too. Wasn't the little girl admiring the balloon beautifully?"

"NOT JUST GIRLS! That's sexism."

"Yes, you are right."

He seems to relax. He has been heard.

The cutie and the curmudgeon.
I celebrate them both.