Balloons

There was no one home when Melissa got there around six. She was glad, this way no one would see her red eyes and ask why she had been crying. She was tired of being treated as a kid while everyone around her looked way more childish. The sixteen-year-old had spent all the way home wondering why all those things were happening to her, trying to find a solution for all of those problems, trying to find someone to blame. But there was no conclusion. She needed a distraction, so she opened her closet, packed with all sort of things not only hers but her brother and sister`s, and started to look for a book. She pulled the box she kept the old books she liked and something fell right by her feet: a bag of balloons.

George was always off at 6, he hated it. It was the worst time to be headed home, when the traffic at least doubles the time of his journey. In rainy days that time would double once more. He wasn`t feeling lucky anyway on that day, but he cursed the heavens when the rain started and he got stuck on Paulista Avenue. He tried to turn on the radio but then remembered it wasn`t there, he had been robbed on the weekend. He couldn`t help but go through all of his problems. His life didn`t seem to be as meaningful as it had seemed before, his family didn`t seem to be a dream that came true but the root of his problems. Even the thought of his wife, that he loved for 6 years of marriage, didn`t seem to quite please him. He wanted to run away from all that but he knew he couldn`t, he had responsibilities. He hated the responsibilities he got for himself.

It was just a bag of colorful balloons, but it inspired Melissa in such a way that she couldn`t let it pass. She opened the bag and started blowing the balloons. There were pink, blue, white, yellow, green and orange ones, they looked so pretty together, so cheerful. She simply kept blowing them until the bag was empty, the apartment completely filled with them and her lips dry and pale. She looked around and enjoyed the sight of all those colorful things spread all over the floor. But she wasn`t quite satisfied. She got a black marker and started to draw a smiley face on one of them.  She was about to start drawing a heart on the next one when her mom arrived, looking a little confused with all that mess.

When George finally got home, as ironic as it could be, the rain stopped. His wife was having trouble with the three-year-old and trying to feed the baby. The older kid was yelling, complaining of something he wanted. The baby was crying and spiting the food off. George didn`t even get the chance to say hi, for his wife was demanding for help, telling him tons of things to do and asking if he had brought any milk. He had forgotten about the milk. It didn`t take long for the arguing to start and soon both adults were yelling and both kids were crying. George couldn`t stand that anymore, leaving the kids to his wife, he went out to the front porch to get some fresh air.

Melissa said hi to her mom but got back to what she was doing. It took her a few seconds to notice how her mom was just standing there, looking at her with a surprised expression, without even letting go of her shoulder bag. Melissa reached another marker and offered her. They were now both doing all sorts of cute drawings on the balloons, writing some kind words and even some funny ones too. They were laughing and having such a great time, it seemed right to spread that to other people. They took the balloons out on the balcony and started letting them go with the wind, from the 15th floor of the building. It took them a while to go back inside; they watched the balloons flying away until the last one of them was out of sight.

Even though he was trying to quit, George lit a cigarette. He had been wandering in front of the house for a few minutes when he saw, coming from a high level of a near building, a bunch of balloons flouting and dancing in the air. It was a pretty sight, he thought. There were pink, blue, white, yellow, green and orange balloons flying over that middle class district. He watched as some of them came to his direction. George tossed his cigarette in time to grab an orange balloon with a smiley carrot drawn on it. He laughed at the nonsense. But something on that senseless orange balloon brought him up. He got back inside with it, his wife had almost completely calmed the baby down, but his son was still wining. As soon as he saw the balloon on his father`s hand, the kid completely forgot what he was wining about and went out to the yard to play with it. The house was suddenly back to normal. George kissed his wife and went to the kitchen to help her get dinner ready.

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