Two Red Balloons

…. And sometimes, rains can be so mystic.

One more year passed by.

As usual, she sat staring out of the window, her gaze fixed at the sky. Her eyes impatiently oscillated from one point to another. To her disappointment, it wasn’t blue but grey this time. She moved her attention to those tiny raindrops that reminded her of something; of someone. The droplets that made her blush and turned her blue at the same time.

“Nature has its own way to express joy and grief” she realized.

It was that time of the year when she dressed herself in the best of clothes, rather the ones she believed he would have loved. She drenched herself in his favorite perfume; the orange bottle for which had not escaped her dresser even after 13 years. She left her long hair open, with a skinny hair strand falling on her right cheek. She wore his favorite lip gloss and her well groomed nails drizzled in bright red nail paint.

Out of habit, she touched the rain drops periodically and scribbled something

“GENIUS”

She wrote and wiped it; rewrote and smudged again, this time with the trickle that fell from her eyes. She cleared the haze to look outside more clearly. She noticed how pristine the leaves looked with new sprouts ornamenting them. The petrichor that emanated from the grass was nothing less than the evidence that nature’s fragrance is far superior to the scent held in deodorant or cologne bottles; yet she loved the perfume that she was wearing. She heard the rhythmic pitter patter of the droplets and placed her hand outside to feel the tender touch of water on her palm. It was unusual to see rain that day, something that had not happened in 13 years and she wondered if this was some sign that was to be decoded; was something going to change that day?

As more and more raindrops gravitated on the ground sliding through her window, she continued to write and wipe “Genius”… that’s what she used to call him.

One, two, three….. Seven! Empty coffee mugs piled up on the table, one after the other. Soon, despair took over her hopeful intuition that developed some time ago. As typical, she got up from the swing chair to withdraw the curtains from their hook, to turn her back from the window and to say aloud that nothing had changed. Rain, the petrichor, the chirping birds, the rhythmic sound of rain drops were not the omens. Once again, she looked up at the barren sky, which had turned a shade darker by now and repeated her standard words

Against all hopes, I am still waiting for you

Once again, tears of disgust, frustration, anger, hurt, love and betrayal flew down her eyes, one after the other. Several hundreds or thousands maybe! She had lost the count of sleepless nights by then. She pulled out a rubber band from her pocket and tied her hair into a bun; but immediately, she let them lose again.

A small curve of happiness planted on her lips just like a ray of sunshine on a dark rainy day. Was she to believe what she saw in the sky at a distance? She rubbed her eyes once again and her heart pounded faster.

Red Balloons” she said

He is here.. “ she exclaimed and ran inside to grab the keys of the car.

Hurriedly, she wore her black sandals, her mind enthusiastic enough to pick the ones she knew he would appreciate. A quick, final glance in the mirror and she was out on the road, following the two red balloons up there.

“Has he really come? Hug or hand shake? Am I looking nice? Should I tell him how much I waited for this day?” Millions of questions rattled in her head. Periodically, she bent herself forward and looked up so as not to lose the sight of the red balloons. In desperation to reach quickly, she honked a couple of times as the rains had left the streets cluttered and crowded. The pedestrians, who struggled to stride on the wet road, made it more difficult for her to drive.

She remembered how they had parted their ways 13 years ago. Her tears were unstoppable then as they were now. She reminisced the last day when she saw him; the memory was still afresh. He was dressed in a black shirt and blue denims, a classic combination she always admired on him.

Thirteen years ago, that misty evening had crippled everything including their archaic love.

So, this is it..  Is it? Really?” She felt the nip of millions of needles being nailed into her body, all at the same time. The suffering was immense, unbreathable.  He stood quiet; still. He didn’t motion, neither nodded, nor spoke. His consent beckoned with a silence. His verdict was final.

“Ok then. We will never see each other again” she reached out to his cheeks and planted a brief good-bye kiss and stepped out of the car, still in tears. She didn’t know whether it was the smooth gush of cries from her eyes or water from the heaves above that made her face wet. She waved a bye and her sight followed his black sedan as far as it could.

A sudden brake brought her back from the memory of that fateful evening.  However, his last words still rattled in her ears “I have obligations that needs to be fulfilled and so we cannot be together Meethi. I feel shackled today, but one day, I will set lose all these chains for you

That day, for the last time, he handed Meethi her favorite red helium balloons tied together and said “the day you see two red balloons near you, tangled, floating in the sky, know that we are searching for you”. For the last time, they released the balloons in the sky. And ever since then, it had been a long wait for her. She dreaded the rains, but today she wanted to harmonize her relation with the shower once again.

Left… Left.. Right.. Left again. She was being taken into a small alley that was a couple of lanes down from the main road. The red balloons were still up, ascending higher. Deep red balloons, twisted with each other added a tinge of color to the gloomy, gravel-grey sky.  After all the chasing, she found a balloon hawker in a corner of the street. A big fluorescent umbrella was tied to his gas cylinder to protect his set up from the rain. His head was covered by a plastic bag, while body by an unkempt, torn, long raincoat. Rain, sometimes, can be so harsh to people; she wondered. Near the stall were a few kids jumping and dancing in the drizzle. Her eyes could not find what she was looking for. She gave a closer look at the street and found a child sobbing on a step in the alley. His father, who sat consoling, had parked his “not so empty” vegetable cart next to him. Rain had been unkind to him as well, she noticed.  The boy, unceasingly rubbed his hand on the eyes in a circular motion, wiped his tears, saw them flow again, sobbed and kept looking at the sky. It was clear from him gestures that he was crying over his loss; loss of two red balloons that left him but not his sight.

She approached the balloon hawker

who’s balloons are those?” she inquired, pointing towards the sky.

The vendor gestured towards the crying boy. Her hopes shattered once again; agony multiplied and disgust increased. She looked up, then down. She looked to her left, then right. She stood disconcerted.  She bent down and placed her hands on the knees. This time the tears didn’t flow down her cheeks. This time the downpour was straight on the ground. Angrily, she looked up again and asked “Why me”?

With heavy emotions she went towards the crying boy and sat next to him. They both wiped the incessant flow of tears and looked at each other. Coincidentally, they shared the same loss – the loss of 2 red balloons. Somewhere, they knew this loss was forever.

Can I buy you the balloons again”? she offered.

The boy remained silent and continued to stare at the ground.

I promised I will buy him two balloons today, and I did. He tied the balloons together so as to save them. But he lost them to the wind” explained his father. “Now I will purchase him balloons later this week. Rains often lead to lame earnings” he sighed.

Rains have been unkind to this small boy as well, she thought.

In no time, she went to the balloon seller and bought two red balloons, tied them together in a knot and gave them to the little boy to save him his tears.

Just as she turned towards the car, she looked back. The two balloons danced together in the air as the boy ran happily in the street. His father had a gleam of happiness on his face and he signaled thanks to her. For the first time in the day, she smiled. For the first time in many years, she felt happy.

Maybe this was the change the day was to bring to her. Maybe the rains, the fragrance of the wet ground, the chirping birds, and the pitter patter of droplets were all an omen. Maybe, there was some indication that she was to decode. Maybe, the heavens finally signaled something; something good!

She deciphered the message the cosmos indicated and ran to the boy and hugged him. This time tears of joy flowed through her eyes. She then hurried her steps to the balloon hawker who was at the verge of winding up the stall for the day.

Two more red balloons please” she said in haste.

Today, the balloons were not tied anymore. She held the balloons one in each hand and set them free. She saw them take the first leap together & then both flew in distinct directions that wind took them to, both independent of each other. Both towards their own fate, own destiny and own life, both towards their own future…both towards their own end. She smiled. She felt relieved.

The shower had stopped by then and so had her tears. The final droplet that rested long enough on her eyelids, finally glided down.

Good bye, Genuis” She whispered and embraced the weather and her new life. After many years, she rekindled an amiable relation with rains. After many years, she felt light. After many years, she breathed.

…. And sometimes, rains can be so mystic.

2 thoughts on “Two Red Balloons

  1. Akshi, Beautifully written ! How could you put so much emotions in your writing..Truly admirable 🙂 keep blogging !

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