Scenes of life – Week 002

Scenes of life - Week 002 (14.9.20)

Scenes of life is a weekly personal diary. From moments in my life that have marked the week, to passing feelings and overheard conversations, I record what has made an impression on me or what has caught my attention.
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Week 002 (14.9.20)

‘Look! Balloons!’

I arched my head to the sky. A couple of distant balloons glided in the sky. I could easily recognised the gold and green of Thatchers Cide glowing in the evening sky. Not far behind, a blue balloon drifted above the tree line, its logo unrecognisable from ground level.

Unconsciously, I grabbed my phone and took a few snaps, my attention  wavering between my screen and the scene above. ‘Balloons…’ I whispered under my breath.

I have long held a fascination with them. They peppered the landscape of my childhood home in summer, invading our skies during the long hot holidays, silently passing by before falling into one of the many surrounding fields. They held the promise of another life, dreams scattered in their wake. Play would stop and we would all look up, drinking in those dreams, silent and in awe.

Moving away from home, balloons became a distant memory, one associated with childhood and the barks of one of my dog, intent on chasing them off his sky. He never succeeded. Settling in Bristol brought them back into my life, their defiant rounded shape floating above my head once more, a comforting link to the past, the promise of a different life realised.

Summer skies were peppered by endless colourful oval shape once more, culminating in the balloon festival in late August. But this year, they disappeared. Confined to the periphery of my house, far from Bristol city centre, far from the prevailing winds chasing balloons to the picturesque city of Bath, I didn’t see any for months on end. The sky remained unperturbed, the only disruption, the occasional trail of a plane high in the sky, the orange paint below its wing letting me know which company flew above my head.

‘There’s more behind,’ my partner pointed out.
I spun on my feet, almost stumbling from turning too fast. Above the grey industrial concrete block of the shopping centre car park, two balloons rose up in the sky as if coming from the centre of the shopping area.
My eyes glittered with stars as I watched them soar. Yellow and blue again, the two new balloons rose in the sky. I heard the distant roar of fire from one of them, the colour of the taught fabric above the small basket glowing brighter for a moment.

A car caught the sinking sunlight, the reflected glint blinding me. White spots flickered behind my closed eyelids. When I opened them again, there was one more balloon over the shopping centre, its figure small and distant.

‘Balloons,’ I whispered again, a wide smile on my face. I slid my phone back into my pocket, watching the near silent flight of the strange contraption above my head.

‘You still want to go in one,’ my partner asked.

‘Absolutely. But not now,’ I hastened to add, the idea of standing in a small basket with a stranger churning my anxiety up.

‘Of course.’

‘But it’d be nice,’ I added gently. My neck still craned up towards the sky, I took my partner’s hand in mine.

‘It’d be nice,’ I repeated softly.

We resumed our walks, the sun setting at our back, the sky mellowing to pale hues of blues, oranges, and pinks. Above our head a myriad of balloons flew, the burners faintly heard in the distance, the slow traffic of a Saturday evening not strong enough to swallow the sound.

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