Yellow Balloon Revised



Each time the memory tried to surface, Henry forced his brain to skirt it.  He wrapped it up tightly, sealed it in plastic and shoved it to the back of his mind.   

But his stupid, stubborn brain would circle the memory, seize it, shake it; deliver small unexpected packets of it the way the internet chops information into bits before sending it. 

Snippets came to him; sharp pinpricks that sent him reeling.

There was the monogrammed handkerchief.  Cotton.  Pink.  Flowers embroidered upon the edges.

There was the seven-digit sequence. 

There was the feel of peach skin; the scent of strawberries; his certainty of his hatred for chocolate.

 Henry toyed with a pen.  Through the window, he saw a girl and her mother in the park.  The girl had a yellow balloon tied to her wrist. 

One yellow balloon.

One yellow balloon was all it took.

The bits and pieces arranged themselves into a discernible whole.  The complete memory burst forth.

 The handkerchief was his fiance’s. 

The digits her telephone number.

The peach skin…

He screamed. 

His wife startled and dropped her mug.  “What’s the matter?” 

“Nothing.   Sorry.”  But he knew: That woman standing before him was not his wife.  And he wasn’t Henry. 

“Get me a towel.” 

He stood and made his way to the kitchen.

He picked up the telephone and began to dial.

But he realized that he could no longer recall the sequence.

And the memory of the pink handkerchief faded and drifted.

“Henry, the towel?”

"Coming.”  He selected a pink towel.  Just before heading back to the living room, he took a chocolate bar from the freezer.  “Here you are, darling.”

“Thank you, Henry.  I see you found the chocolate.  I thought you’d sworn it off?”

“I couldn’t resist.”  Through the window, Henry saw a little girl playing in the park, a yellow balloon tied to her wrist.  “She’s beautiful.”

His wife stood.  “I think so, too.”

“I’ve always wanted a child.”

“Take her some chocolate, Henry.” 


Henry stepped outside.

"John?"  The woman asked.  She held the child's hand.  "John Devonshire?"

Again the memories: "Eileen?"

"No.  Mother died thirty years ago.  I'm your daughter."

Henry turned and headed back inside.


This was written for this weekend's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  We were to take an existing piece we wrote for Trifecta and add thirty-three words to it.


Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Yellow Balloon Revised

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yellow Balloon Revised



Each time the memory tried to surface, Henry forced his brain to skirt it.  He wrapped it up tightly, sealed it in plastic and shoved it to the back of his mind.   

But his stupid, stubborn brain would circle the memory, seize it, shake it; deliver small unexpected packets of it the way the internet chops information into bits before sending it. 

Snippets came to him; sharp pinpricks that sent him reeling.

There was the monogrammed handkerchief.  Cotton.  Pink.  Flowers embroidered upon the edges.

There was the seven-digit sequence. 

There was the feel of peach skin; the scent of strawberries; his certainty of his hatred for chocolate.

 Henry toyed with a pen.  Through the window, he saw a girl and her mother in the park.  The girl had a yellow balloon tied to her wrist. 

One yellow balloon.

One yellow balloon was all it took.

The bits and pieces arranged themselves into a discernible whole.  The complete memory burst forth.

 The handkerchief was his fiance’s. 

The digits her telephone number.

The peach skin…

He screamed. 

His wife startled and dropped her mug.  “What’s the matter?” 

“Nothing.   Sorry.”  But he knew: That woman standing before him was not his wife.  And he wasn’t Henry. 

“Get me a towel.” 

He stood and made his way to the kitchen.

He picked up the telephone and began to dial.

But he realized that he could no longer recall the sequence.

And the memory of the pink handkerchief faded and drifted.

“Henry, the towel?”

"Coming.”  He selected a pink towel.  Just before heading back to the living room, he took a chocolate bar from the freezer.  “Here you are, darling.”

“Thank you, Henry.  I see you found the chocolate.  I thought you’d sworn it off?”

“I couldn’t resist.”  Through the window, Henry saw a little girl playing in the park, a yellow balloon tied to her wrist.  “She’s beautiful.”

His wife stood.  “I think so, too.”

“I’ve always wanted a child.”

“Take her some chocolate, Henry.” 


Henry stepped outside.

"John?"  The woman asked.  She held the child's hand.  "John Devonshire?"

Again the memories: "Eileen?"

"No.  Mother died thirty years ago.  I'm your daughter."

Henry turned and headed back inside.


This was written for this weekend's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  We were to take an existing piece we wrote for Trifecta and add thirty-three words to it.


Labels:

14 Comments:

At September 28, 2012 at 7:21 PM , Anonymous Terri Main said...

A lovely story.

 
At September 28, 2012 at 7:27 PM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

Woah - I missed that one the first time around, and that tiny addition makes the whole thing completely surreal.

 
At September 29, 2012 at 4:29 AM , Anonymous Kenya Johnson said...

Wow that was deep. When you wrote it, did you have those 33 words in mind? It's amazing how it completes the passage. I didn't see it first time around.

 
At September 29, 2012 at 4:55 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

Amazing how the last 33 words can fill in the gaps and leave the reader wanting more... A whole lot more.

 
At September 29, 2012 at 5:48 AM , Blogger Draug said...

I like the first part well enough on it's own, and the new addition gives it a good twist. :)

 
At September 29, 2012 at 7:07 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Wow! The addition really puts a spin on the piece, very interesting. Really makes me want to know what's going on.

 
At September 29, 2012 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Rene Foran said...

This is so wonderfully written. It reminds me of someone suffering from Alzheimer's

 
At September 29, 2012 at 2:39 PM , Anonymous lumdog said...

This is excellent. It really conveys the mind of someone with painful memories. And the extra 33 allowed you to give us a real zinger. Great job!

 
At September 29, 2012 at 7:11 PM , Anonymous Debbie said...

Uh, gut shot. Wow! Did not expect that, but very well done.

 
At October 1, 2012 at 5:52 AM , Anonymous Wisper said...

Ouch - turning and walking away after a comment like that? Painful.

 
At October 2, 2012 at 7:27 AM , Anonymous Tara_pohlkottepress said...

just fantastic...

 
At October 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Whoa! Susannah said...

I had to re-read this one a few times for it all to sink in, but once it did, I was amazed.

 
At October 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Whoa! Susannah said...

I had to re-read this one a few times for it all to sink in, but once it did, I was amazed.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM , Anonymous Stacie @ Snaps and Bits said...

Why the heck did he do that? It's his daughter and granddaughter! I want to know what happened and happens. Nice story.

 

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