'Did you know that I can see you right now? Yes, you, with the blue balloon, I see you.' The little boy with the blue balloon, pointed at Simon's face. He was with his mother and shouted joyfully at Simon.
"LOOK MOMMY IT'S A DRAGON!" cried the little boy. The woman appeared disinterested as she nodded and pulled her son, absentmindedly away from Simon.
So it would be one of those days. Simon had done the same thing every day for the past twenty nine years, and today would be no different.
Today, as always, he would sit very still on his pedestal, frozen in artistic ferocity.
'Oh what would it be like to move?' thought Simon as he watched the little boy and his mother walk in the direction of the Chinese restaurant behind him.
Life for Simon was very boring. Ever since the old sculptor put him together and sold him to Mr. Cho for the entrance of his restaurant, Simon stood angrily, teeth bared and tongue out, looking at all of Mr. Cho's customers.
Just then an old woman walked up to Simon and peered at him curiously.
'It's rude to stare,' thought Simon as he looked right back at the withered, Chinese woman.
"Yes it is rude, isn't it?" asked the woman. Simon stared at her.
"Grandma!" cried a young Chinese woman, with long black hair. "Let's go we have reservations!"
"Go on ahead inside. I'll be there soon enough," said the woman, keeping her eyes on Simon.
'Can you hear me?' he thought.
"Of course I can hear you, otherwise I wouldn't be speaking to you like an old fool now would I?" The woman laughed lightly and patted Simon on the face. "You must have a difficult life, Simon."
'Yes, but there's nothing I can do about it.' Simon had accepted this fact many years ago, after he was sold to Mr. Cho.
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," said the woman.
'What do you mean?'
"Tonight is a very special night for you, Simon," she began. "Tonight we shall bring in the New Year."
'The Spring Festival?' asked Simon.
"Yes," the woman smiled and reached for something in her pocket. She pulled out a cloth bag and placed it into Simon's mouth.
'What's this?' Simon couldn't taste anything and wondered why she put a bag into his mouth.
"A very special potion that I made just for you," she smiled and took a step back. "When the full moon rises to its fullest tonight, you will see what the New Year spirits shall bring you." The withered lady smiled and the wrinkles around her eyes deepened as she walked away.
'What's so special about the New Year?' Simon had been in the same place for twenty nine years, rain or shine, snow or sleet, staring at all of the same things, and all of Mr. Cho's customers. Nothing exciting ever happened.
As the sun began to set, Simon watched all of the New Yorkers passing by as usual. The little boy with the blue balloon left with his mother along with the old woman and her granddaughter.
The sky began to slowly darken and Simon watched as Mr. Cho's customers came in smaller and smaller groups. Finally the area became quiet for the exception of the drifting noise from the Spring Festival.
The music from the festival drifted in whispered notes to Simon as he remained on his cement pedestal watching as a large orange moon rose idly into the sky among the twinkling stars. The small bag remained in his mouth were the old woman had placed it, earlier in the evening.
'I hope someone removes this potion soon.' Simon gazed at the orange moon and wondered if he would see the withered, old lady again. Maybe she ate Chinese food often.
"Have you missed me?" asked a voice in his ear. A white cat purred lightly in his ear and jumped down from his head. It stood in front of Simon and gazed at him with slanted black eyes.
'Who are you?' Surely he would have remembered speaking with a cat.
"The one who gave you that potion
. You may call me Granny Lee," said the cat in the voice of the old lady.
'That's impossible,' began Simon. 'Clearly you are lying.'
"I have many faces," declared Granny Lee, "I would like to see how many you have as well, would you care to join me for the New Year's Festival?" she asked.
'I would like to but I cannot move,' said Simon sadly. Granny Lee grinned widely.
"Are you sure about that?" she asked. "New Years often bring new surprises." Just then, Simon felt a curious sensation. A loud crackling filled the air and suddenly, Simon closed his mouth!
He tasted spices on his tongue and swallowed the potion in one gulp. He felt a strange weight lift off of his head. A warmth spread slowly down his back all the way to his tail. Simon lowered his head to gaze at Granny Lee at eye level.
"I can move!" exclaimed Simon delightfully. He twisted his snake-like body and shook his wings.
"Would you like to go to the New Year's Festival, Simon?" Granny Lee asked with a wide smile.
"How did you do this?" Simon was amazed. He could move and turn and talk!
"I told you, the New Year brings new surprises, but the change is not permanent, unfortunately. You will turn back to stone when the sun rises but at night you can travel with me," she said as she jumped lightly from Simon's pedestal and onto the darkened street.
Simon scampered clumsily after Granny Lee, not yet used to the sensation of walking. She walked purposefully down the road and past several small streets until they came upon the bright lights of the festival. Red and yellow ribbons twisted through the air and a large paper dragon slithered down the street! Simon edged closer to look at the many human feet beneath it.
"People like to dress up as dragons for festivals," said Granny Lee. "But they can't make their costumes fly." Simon looked at her curiously, then turned his head to look back at himself. He had wings!
"Can I fly?" asked Simon, unsure if he would be able to.
"All real dragons can fly," Granny Lee jumped onto his back and nudged a wing with her paw. "Why don't you give it a try?"
Simon tried to flap his wings, but couldn't rise off of the ground.
"I don't think I can," he said.
"Try again, and push off from the ground," suggested Granny Lee. Simon tried again, pushing hard off of the ground. He flapped his wings and the air rushed below him as he rose into the air, higher and higher with Granny Lee on his back.
"I'm flying!" Simon felt the cool air against his scales and saw the brightly lit lanterns beneath him as he flew high into the night.
He twisted and turned and opened his mouth wide letting a bright ball of fire escape from his throat. He could taste the flames with his tongue. Granny Lee laughed loudly as they flew over the New Year's festival. Several people looked up and pointed in awe at the dragon and cat, pointing and calling wildly. Simon unleashed another ball of fire and looked down at the people below him.
A boy with a blue balloon pointed at Simon and yelled, "LOOK THAT'S THE DRAGON FROM THE RESTAURANT!"
Simon flew higher into the light of the orange moon and smiled down at the boy with the blue balloon. The boy waved happily to him, and for a moment, Simon wondered if Mr. Cho could see him flying high, from the restaurant.