One of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’
Photo Capture: ‘The Blue Colored Balloon’
The door bell chimed and Cindy ran to the grand hallway entrance to be greeted by a circus clown bearing a handful of birthday balloons. Like he did every year, David would not forget to send his special happy birthday signature to his daughter. His job was demanding and as a commercial airline pilot the work schedule often conflicted with holidays and family events. The evening teetered out and the party ended up with cleaning, discussion about the party and as usual, Matthew had pricked Cindy’s favorite colored balloon while trying to pin the tail on the donkey. But Cindy did not have a broad tantrum, instead she picked up the deflated balloon up off the floor and tucked it inside her robe pocket as if it were a treasure. “I can put myself to bed by myself tonight mother because I am now old enough not to be tucked into bed,” Cindy said. Sarah smiled with approval but felt disappointed that her daughter was becoming independent too soon.
The night felt rainy, damp and chilly for the weather forecasts that a storm may develop into a category two event. And only an hour had passed since Cindy awakened to hear a loud boom in the distance, started to cry, and quickly crawled under the purple and white antique quilted coverlet that grandmother made. The bedroom door swiftly opened and her mother immediately rushed over to the banging French windows. Sarah struggled to close the rusted metal latches, however a force were at play that became much too strong for her petite frame to fight. “It’s just a thunderstorm darling and nothing to worry about,” she gasped. The winds howled and pushed, scratching the old oak tree branches against the framed leaded window panes. And then an enormous crash, a tree limb went flying across Cindy’s bedroom with a tremendous speed and landed upon the tarnished brass bed, knocking her unconscious.
White circles appeared winding and winding as if it were a spherical tunnel, the grinding noise, unbearable and then abruptly stopped. Cindy possessed fear, but brave enough to open her hazel colored eyes to see a bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. Swarms of birds navigated in single formation around and around a display of bright colored balloons. She sat up in her bed only to find that it was floating in the middle of a lake! “What am I going to do mother?” “Mother, mother where are you?” she cried out. And at that moment of total despair the birds flew down and perched upon the brass bed posts, each carrying within its beak a bright colored balloon. One Blue Bird advanced towards Cindy’s coverlet and presented her with a bright blue balloon. It was the same color of the sky and her favorite color. She accepted the gift with pleasure from the kind bird and ceased crying. The bed commenced its journey as the balloons drifted it slowly in the direction of the tree lined shore. Mallard ducks, Canadian geese and Swans all followed the procession towards land. Cindy was puzzled at the sight and wondered why they were all wearing funny party hats! The metal bed abruptly thumped onto the shore and Cindy slid upon a light peach sandy beach. She wiggled her toes beneath the sand to confirm if it was real and sound. While still continuing their babbling chatter the birds and party hat fowls proceeded through a thicket, along a path into woods . Blue Bird signaled with a chirp for Cindy to follow. Hesitant at first, Cindy decided that she really did not have much of a choice but to follow this strange crew. And to her amazement the party grew, snails, turtles, frogs mysteriously appeared out of water and off they all went, disappearing into the woods.
Sarah had very little strength left as she tried to encourage herself to lift the heavy limb off her leg. Sirens were heard blaring into the stormy night and throughout the suburban community of Bedford Lake, New Jersey. Electric cables were down and without any lights to see, Sarah blindly made her way over to Cindy’s brass bed. Her hands clasped Cindy’s bloody head. All that Sarah could do was cradle and lay alongside Cindy screaming, “please God help us!”
Chad worked the emergency rescue team night shift and heard faint cries off in the distance. His trained dog, Buck at his side and sensed a needed rescue. Chad noticed a fallen tree that crashed through the front of a house across the street and decided to work his way through the front door and up the winding wooden French staircase. Chad signaled for Buck to climb up first and the rescue dog made it to the top of the stairs, barked, whined and froze in front of Cindy’s bedroom door. Chad looked up in disbelief at the scene, a tree pressed up against the bedroom door and structurally the hallway could collapse! In order to make this rescue, an experienced crew was needed to come in and investigate the destruction to structure. Chad radioed the emergency center for a crew and shouted out to Sarah, “stay calm, help is on its way!”
The shining party hats appeared bouncing up and down in the distance as the fowls, water creatures continued parading down the wooded path. Cindy could see that a few long hared rabbits also filed in line. Music could now be heard in the distance. The music became louder and louder as the group emerged through the woods and into a grassy meadow. It was a very large orchestra that filled the air with sweet sounds. Blanketed squares of purple and white flowers dotted the green landscape. A perfect spot for picnicking! And within each floral square there lay displayed, tiered ornate china trays, decorated with party favors and a variety of mini cakes and sweets to eat. All the fowls, sea creatures and animals took their reserved place and Blue Bird guided Cindy to her picnic party blanket. The treats were devoured, the geese and swans danced neck to neck. Turtles rolled on their hard shells. Cindy laughed and laughed until there were yawns. She could no longer stay awake. Blue Bird calmly fluttered above Cindy and gently placed over her a fine cover of white flowers.
The emergency lights penetrated the thick fog, Chad, and his crew were able to get Sarah and Cindy off to the hospital. There’s
still hope. David finally arrived at the hospital and Sarah, diagnosed with a fractured leg and bruises but Cindy continued to be in critical condition. Day after day he sat beside her bedside waiting for change and grasping her robe that she wore to bed that dreadful night. After feeling a lump at the robe pocket, David reached in and felt the deflated balloon, it rolled onto the floor. He pursed his lips forcing a smile, picked it up and placed Cindy’s favorite colored balloon alongside the purple and white flowers that lined the windowsill. The physicians notified David that Sarah was finally able to go home and he decided to drive her there as soon as possible. Cindy, left alone in the hospital room and it was as if a miracle happened, she woke up from her deep sleep. She could see rows of beautiful purple and white flowers lining the window sill and a peculiar looking Blue Bird standing as if a guard. He swooped down and grabbed with his beak the deflated balloon and disappeared into that afternoons blue sky. And this is how the bright blue colored balloon ended up along the side of the road!