They had always roamed the Prater together. Riding across green meadows and through green trees had always been their main pastime. It wasn’t that they didn’t care for the entertainment booths and fairground, it was more that they longed for diversion in nature, more than anything else. The two of them had been an unusual pair. But they were the only ones who understood each other. They didn’t need anyone else, they were happy with each other, riding through the Prater.
They did, however, always start opposite an old wig maker. It was their favourite spot – behind the large ferris wheel, in between all the hustle and bustle of the Würstelprater and the calm nature of the green Prater. He had a big sign, advertising his craft. But the shop hadn’t been in much demand, ever since the performers left. They had been replaced by machines, and machines didn’t need wigs. Over the years the pair watched, as the shop front deteriorated, until at one point it was gone. Only the white outlines of the sign were still visible.
Still they rode on, enjoying both the natural side of prater and the one with all the lights and wonder. But when festivities in October – investors had found new ways to make money – blocked off their path into nature, something changed. They had been caged in, held by a construction fence, two metres tall and made of steel. The investors did not care for their freedom to ride through the trees and pastures of the Prater, all they cared for was money.
And it was in this confinement that they lost their spirit. One of her balloons fled, where it could, into the sky. A sign of their hope, dispersing into thin air.
A grey and purplish cage formed around them. The bleak coldness of steel locking them in, pinning them to this one spot. Unable to move they grew from annoyed to grumpy. The Viennese Grant (grumpiness) had a full hold of them. Even when the festivities had ended, packed up and moved to another time, another place, even then, their cage did not lift.
Until, one day, they saw a figure, looking around, behind the ferris wheel. They seemed keen and had sharp eyes. The figure watched them. They seemed to recognize the pair and just like that the cage lifted. It disappeared into thin air, like the balloon that had gotten away. And with it, they felt free again. Free to roam, free to be who they wanted to be. Free again at last. Thankfully they waved at the figure and rode off, into the distance.