The Boy with the Balloons – Part 1

Tell me a story he said, so I rambled on… and now I’m sharing this improvised on the spot story telling I shared on the beach by the fire pit on the coast of the Sea of Cortez.

This is a story about a boy, a boy who was in a park with his parents. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was out and a few white fluffy clouds moved at a slow pace in the sky. As the boy daydreamed about bouncing in the clouds, his parents tied 3 blue balloons to his wrist.

The string pulled him out of his revery. “What’s this for?” he asked. “Because we love you and don’t want to lose you in this crowd,” they replied. The park was indeed crowded. There was music, and the smell of cotton candy filled the air.

The boy amused himself by tugging his hand down pulling the balloons, and then raising his arm once again to watch the balloons float back up past his eyes. This made him laugh. Just as he thought this was the best day in his life, his father placed a cone wrapped in a big puffy cloud of blue cotton candy in his unoccupied hand.

Wow, he thought to himself, can this day get any better? Blue candy in one hand, and blue balloons tied to the other. It took great skill to not get the strings messed up with cotton candy as he used one hand to grab a pinch of candy and bring it to his mouth. He giggled aloud when the string covered in candy stuck to his eye lashes.

“Look Mommy! You can lick the candy off my eye!” he screamed with delight.

“Close your eyes, we have another surprise for you,” they told him with a big mischievous smile.

Indeed, the best day of my life he thought again.

“What is it? What is it? What is it?” The boy bounced from one foot to the other in sheer anticipation. Close your eyes, they repeated, and count to one hundred.

Oh boy, he knew it was to be a big surprise, they’d never asked him to count that high before. Immediately the boy closed his eyes, and started, one, two, three, four…

He kept his eyes closed, and continued the count. As he counted he felt the candy drip melting sugar on his hand. He debated over continuing the count, or quickly opening his eyes to lick the sugar from his fingers. He didn’t want to ruin the surprise, so he let the dripping continue but shuffled his foot. He didn’t want the drops to mess his good shoes.

Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty, forty-one…

I wonder what it is, he pondered. Forty-eight, forty-nine, maybe it’s a puppy! That’s why it’s taking them so long. They’re getting me a puppy! Fifty-three, fifty-four, fifty-five, a cute little puppy with shiny black hair and a blue ribbon tied around his neck, sixty-one, sixty-two. And I’ll call him Blue because it’s my favorite color, and the puppy will be my favorite thing in the whole wide world, seventy-five, seventy-six…

I’ll take him to this park everyday and share my cotton candy with him, eighty-eight, eighty-nine, ninety, ninety-one…

As he reached one hundred, he decided the surprise was even grander than a puppy. A little brother. That’s what they’re bringing me. That takes even more time to organize than a puppy. I’m getting a little brother! He kept his eyes closed, and kept his promise. I’ll have someone to play with forever and ever. His parents didn’t always want to play with the boy, so they’re doing the next best thing and getting him a friend to live with and play with and share stories with.

He beamed with delight. Blue balloons tied to one wrist, and melting gooey blue cotton candy in the other. And he stood there. It felt like eternity. He kept his eyes closed, and decided a baby brother deserved a count to one thousand. He had never ever counted past one hundred, but he knew the trick and knew he could do it. He could do anything for a little brother.

His paper cone was a sad mess, and drooping to the side. He could feel the moist paper leaning over his clenched fingers. But he could still feel the soft tug of the floating balloons tied to his wrist. His arms were tired, and he slowly let them drop to his side. With closed eyes, his smile started to fade. Bobby. He decided that would be his name. I’m getting a little brother called Bobby.

“Well hello there little boy,” he heard a friendly voice say. “Hi” he answered, but kept his eyes tightly shut. “Where are your parents? they asked. “They’re getting me a little brother, or maybe a puppy, but I’m thinking a brother because they take longer to make,” said the boy.

“Open your eyes” they told him. “No, they said to keep my eyes closed on account of their surprise.” 

Open your eyes, it’s dark outside,” they said. “It can’t be, the sun was shining in my eyes when they left.” Tears slowly formed in his eyes. He dropped the dried up paper cone, it fell on his foot. “I don’t want it to be dark, I’m not allowed to be out alone in the dark,” and he cried.

“It’s ok, you’re with us now, open your eyes.” And the boy slowly opened his eyes. He saw a man and a woman, they looked older than his parents, and their clothes weren’t as nice as what their parents wore. They looked tired. The lady held out her hand, and the boy took it. “Will you take me to my parents?” he asked. “Of course” she replied with a smile. The paper cone fell to the grass when he walked away.

His blue balloons were no longer above his eyes, but below his shoulders. He walked with the man and the woman to an old station wagon parked in the exact same spot where his parents had parked their car. They must have sent this friendly couple to come get me, he thought. That’s why they’re in the same spot.

The man untied the soft blue balloons from his wrist and let them float in mid-air as the boy climbed into front seat of the car. The woman sat next to him, and the man sat behind the steering wheel.

“Are we going home?” asked the boy. “Yes. Yes we are,” said the woman.

To be continued…

By this point he asked me if this really was a story I was making up on the spot. I laughed. Of course! There is more, but I got carried away in the details.

I’ll be back with the rest of the story. It gets better. 


7 thoughts on “The Boy with the Balloons – Part 1”

  1. Oh my heart….I want more of the story because it’s excellent but I am afraid my heart will break reading it.

    The language of this was spot on my friend. Excellent work.


      1. nothing to thank me for. I had the easy part, you had to write it. Lots of excellent tension all while all the boy has his eyes closed. I have a little confusion with the italics, which I assumed were his in our thoughts, but then I thought there were some italics that were the direct quotes from the parents.


        1. I was afraid it would be confusing. I wanted to avoid pushing out the attributions, and wanted the quotes to seem more organic. I’ll go back and fix it. Thanks!


          1. there wasn’t much actual dialogue to fix, so it shouldn’t be much. for the boy’s age, his language was more sophisticated than it probably should have been, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. it still “felt” right even though it’s probably way above average for his age. not suggesting you change it.


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