For my seventh birthday, I got a balloon. It wasn’t a present really, just a decoration, but it felt like my best gift. I’m sure my parents were thrilled that their 50p purchase trumped everything that they had spent far more on, but I was happy.
When it still floated, I’d practice my headers on it or pretend it was a punching bag. As it began to sync, I’d volley it, sending the thing ricocheting off vases and photo frames and all the other detritus adults seemed determined to put in the way. Finally, when it sank to the floor, I kicked it round like a football.
By the time it burst, all my other presents were gathering dust, forgotten. Not that I hadn’t been grateful, just that I was so grateful for the balloon nothing else compared. I’m twenty-five this year, I think it’s time for another balloon.