She takes a big breath, inhaling and filling her lungs with fresh air. Tucking a few strands of hair behind each ear, she strolls the streets aimlessly for some distraction. And she finds it.
A small boy of two is holding a red balloon in one hand, wobbling beneath the thick layer of clothes and merrily paddling his little feet on the pavement, making rhythmic, tick-tock sounds.
Then, the boy trips, staggers, and falls, letting go of the red balloon in his tiny fist. He looks up at the swelling balloon, her gaze follows his and traces to the balloon as it drifts further and further away until it joins the embrace of the apricot-cream sky and disappears behind the fluffy candy clouds.
She lets out a low sigh and runs her finger through her sleek, dark hair. Esperanza’s red balloon. She thought as she heads back down towards her own house on mango street.