Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Balloon Big Sky Lonliness #atozchallenge

Money was tight again so I took another construction job with Big Mike.  It was a cool city morning, slight breeze, buildings were just as oppressive as they ever were.  I used to enjoy how they towered into the sky.  I once dreamed of living high above the clouds watching the people like ants below from some air conditioned penthouse.   I’ve worked in some of the tallest soulless glass and steel towers the city could boast, nowhere close to living in them.   I could never stand how the buildings swayed with the wind and how emotionally cold they were.  The views from the balcony weren’t as vast and brilliant as I imagined they would be.   I grew to prefer being close to the earth as I got older.

 Mike and I were working in the court yard between a series of identical monoliths jutting without glory thirty stories toward an unimpressed god.  I was fumbling with my tool bag when something  caught my attention.  Up there, about 50 stories up set against an overcast sky was a single white balloon with a long ribbon floating up and out of the city. 

I have a thing for balloons, helium balloons because they remind me of childhood.  That part of childhood that is free and innocent and sweet and lovely like birthdays and celebrations and smiles and happiness.  They remind me of feeling weightless and that at any moment I could float away from the chaos and madness that was my actual childhood.  A secret I’ll tell only you here and now is that I love helium balloons.  They actually make me cry because they seem so lonely and beautiful.  Especially when I see one floating up and away helpless and alone.  I don’t see it as breaking free and reaching for the heavens, which I suppose is one way of looking at it.  I see them as scared and alone going unwillingly into some great unknown thing to be afraid of.  I wish I could help them either come back down or go with them so they wouldn’t be so lonely and afraid.  Does that tell you something about me?

I saw this white lonely balloon floating upward and I felt like weeping for its little lighter-than-air soul.  I watched it bob in the undulating current buffered by tall buildings.   I stared at it as Big Mike was busy working the soil without me.  He didn’t notice that I was transfixed on some distant point in the sky.  

The balloon was moving across the sky, sailing upward and west.  Soon it would be out of sight passing behind one of the concrete monstrosities.  I started walking east in the courtyard to keep the lonely little thing in sight, to spiritually ease its pain.  I thought hard on that little balloon, trying to keep it in sight.  Just as it passed behind the building it stopped and started to sail back east and into my view.  It stayed there for some time making a connection with the only soul in a sea of ten million who noticed it.  It hovered and began to descend toward me.  I thought for a moment that it actually noticed me.  It was coming toward me gracefully, deliberately.  I focused my will and tried to bring the balloon toward me.  

I no longer paid any attention to Big Mike or his repeated requests for certain tools on my belt.  I focused on bringing the lonely little balloon back to the ground and to me, it’s only friend.  Mike called out and demanded a small shovel thingy I carried on my belt.  I had to help him carve out one of the stones in the courtyard pathway.  Occasionally I looked up to see the balloon still hovering, waiting for me to come back to it.  

We got the stone free and I looked up again but the balloon was much higher now.  It was drifting up and away.  I couldn’t make out that it had a long ribbon tied to the knot.   Maybe it found the courage to make the journey on its own.  Maybe it didn’t need me.  Maybe I was nuts for imbibing a soul in to a gas filled bag but at that moment that little bag was the most important thing I could think of.  Within minutes it was reduced to a small black dot disappearing into the sky and once again, in a city teeming with life,  I felt all alone.


  1. Very interesting, if a bit long post. :) I like the connection between loneliness and a lone balloon. All the best for the challenge.. Also the #atozchallenge to your posts.

    1. My posts tend to run in the 500 word range. For a challenge with 2000 people it may be a bit difficult to read many like this but I am glad you enjoyed the story. See you on the blogs!

  2. The journey of the lonely balloon narrated so well and it touches the heart. A great story I read today.

    1. Thank you, Vishal. I'm very glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Wow, Tom! I was in that "gap" moment with you the entire time. Such a beautifully written narrative.
    Have a great weekend!

    My A2Zs @ As the Fates Would Have It & Promptly Written
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    1. I'm so glad you liked it, Ravyne and glad to have you there with me. I'm heading over to your blogs now!