They gave balloons to all the kids,
in hopes (my guess) of keeping
them occupied as parents shopped.
Helium-filled, squeaky red spheres
of shimmering joy, tied on each slender
wrist, and the scheme did work,
for a while at least, until we
tried to take it off to strap him
in his seat and he screamed
holy hell; and we fingered
the string to feed him supper,
and he fought us off; and it was
time for bath and there was No Way
he was going to wear it in the tub,
but he gave our ears such a
buffeting that we gave in, washing
around the knotted white twine.
Then time for bed, and now
for sure he would obey or else,
and the hollering resumed; finally
I had enough, took the balloon
in my furious hands and wrenched—
Pop! My sudden act of benevolence.
And later, sleepless, I wondered if God
felt guilty for ending our fun
over one shiny red obsession.
–Submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. Come join in!

30 thoughts on “Balloons

  1. smiles…kids and their balloon stories…think there are countless…i suffered when my balloon lost more and more air…maybe a quick death would've been more merciful…


  2. Oh I recall a story from my youth when I was a good brother.. we got a balloon each, me and my little sister… my little sister dropped hers and we saw it flying away… Then I released mine to save any envious feelings among siblings….


  3. oh dang….yeah, and we play god on them in taking it…
    a bit sad…he holding on to it and fighting every attempt to take it…i hope forgiveness is there for you…smiles…oy the trouble they cause in giving them out…smiles.


  4. Oh, this is soooo good, nico! I didn't see the the God thing coming at all, and yet, it's perfect! Had one of those a few years ago. Now he towers over me and still as stubborn. Really fantastic work.


  5. Lovely retelling Nico ~ My daughter loves her balloon/s until they are ready to give up and wither away ~ The ending was unexpected, ouch on those red obsession ~


  6. Thanks Grace, I don't know what it is about kids and balloons. Or about any of the red obsessions that dominate our lives. Strange creatures, we are!


  7. Nico, this is priceless. I still experience the trauma of losing a helium-filled balloon when I was about 5, visiting family in Colorado. And that was (I won't say) how many years ago?

    And thanks so much for finding the source poem in Mary Oliver for me! I'll mark it in the book where I found it now.


  8. …i had never attempted to make a companion with a balloon… perhaps the child in me was still in deep slumber back then… li'l did i notice i was 22 already & many sumners are dead now… smiles… loved the dreamy appeal of your writing today…


  9. this is absolutely adorable. and since all I get are the echoes of hollering through your well crafted words, I can find the humor that I'm sure did not exist in the described day.


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