gone in a blink
When I was a very little girl, my family drove to and from church every Sunday morning past the entrance to Cadwalader Park. Rain or shine, summer or winter, guarding that entrance to the park, in his funny suit and hat, was The Balloon Man. And always clutched in his hand was the most fabulous bouquet of balloons, the colors so vibrant you could taste them, and the intricate animal shapes danced and bounced off the top of his head.
For years we never stopped to buy those balloons; our childhood just didn’t include such frivolity. But every week I hoped and yearned and when the priest talked about the sin of coveting, I thought of those balloons.
Then one day, for no special reason, my father pulled over at that curb and bought us each a piece of magic on a string. Mine was a big red puppy dog. But I had no experience with balloons and strings, and in an instant mine slipped through my hands and floated up to the trees.
Watching Nathan shave off Finnian’s hair was like watching that red puppy dog balloon disappear. With each curl that rolled off the razor and plopped on the floor, my last child’s babyhood floated farther and farther out of my reach, until it was just a tiny red speck amidst the clouds.
And then, in a final blink, it was gone, and I cried like that four year old with her face to the sky at the edge of the park.