The Balloon {Unleashed07 short story entry}

You scramble and try to hold on to as many balloons as you can. On this gloomy Sunday, you hold onto ten strings, all tied to bright red balloons. You look down, down at the masses of people, the hundreds of heads rushing there and here and everywhere. You are high, high above them all! You hold tightly to the strings to ensure you don’t fall into the crowds. You want to stay high.
The sun barely shines through the grey-washed sky. Three blocks away to the left, a hint of sunlight meets the tiny, isolated park you used to go to when you were three, when your mum held you tight and whispered in your ears: ‘play in the sandbox where mum can see you.’ Then she set you free to roam in the sunlight. You ignored her comment and rushed pass the see-saw, the sandbox, running towards the swings. Yes, the swing that once brought you above the horizons, the swing where you would look back and laugh at mum – she looks so small from up here! You laugh at the other people in the park, they’re like tiny Lego people!

You tried to touch the sky and catch the sunlight.

Now, with your ten bright red balloons, you journey, higher and higher. Until you tug to your left and feel yourself float towards that beam of light. You look down, and hear gasps and screams. The tiny crowd thinks this is some advertising stunt! The red balloons you hold remind them of that Kodak ‘Retrospect’ campaign. The ad had a businessman who realised useless memories – like his first car, first house – were unimportant to life. Only Kodak moments truly mattered.

And so, the people below you agree unanimously that the ten red balloons you hold symbolise useless memories.

Now, with your red balloons, you feel powerful as you drift and gaze far below. The skyscrapers are like little Lego pieces from up here, you can put up to ten in your palms! You feel like God.
Now, you travel north, that is, to your left.
But find yourself

And as you tug harder and harder, you sink faster, only to realise that the harder you tug, the more balloons fly away. Quick, hold on to them! Don’t let them get away! You hold tightly to the strings, but only three balloons remain. You panic- but look down. Land in the park! You shift, gently, to your left, with your legs swerving at your demand.
Careful now, to your left a bit more – it’s in view now!
Right below you, the swings you once adored are visible. You carefully let a balloon go, and slowly, you fall. You look back at the view behind; all you see is a grey mass. Now, the gloomy sky, the towers and the skyscrapers no longer appeal to you. The concrete jungle is boring, and you can’t wait to go back to the swings. You want to go faster! You let another balloon go. And now you accelerate and fall
and fall
and fall.

You land and let go of the last balloon.

And then you sprint. Up, up the hill and straight towards the swings! It’s in view! But the swings are broken. Rust permeates the swing as it creaks in the breeze. The sun no longer shines on the swings.
‘Look around’, mum whispers. You turn to your left – the see-saw is broken. You turn right – and there is only a road leading out of the park, straight back to the concrete jungle.

Journal Comments

  • whims
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