20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

The Red Balloon

“Peter, I don’t know.”  The two were walking down the sidewalk with an easy closeness, a bit like siblings.  The familiar brownstone apartment building where they each lived wasn’t far.  A giant red balloon loped along  ungracefully behind them, connected to the string held firmly in her fingers.  They were quite serious.

“What do you mean?”  His gait slowed, and she adjusted her pace.

“What if it doesn’t come back?”

He leaned in closer.  “Of course it won’t come back”  The balloon tug-tugged on the string, agreeing.

This she found somehow both scary and reassuring.


After a moment, her small hand bloomed open, and the string slithered up her palm, pulled by the balloon.  They watched it rise until it grew smaller, smaller, and then was high enough the air currents pulled it over the rooftops.

They finished the walk home in silence but completely present with each other.  She slid her hand into his.

It felt alright, she thought.


Last Supper

I remember sitting across from you at that restaurant twenty years ago in the summer. What would I have said differently had I known I would never sit opposite you again?

This was our last supper. I remember the place; it’s still there.  It’s less than a mile from the house I am living in now.  I remember the food was greasy.  (Still is.)  I remember we argued about money and time for the last time.

Where did you go? How easy was it for you to get there?

Your life was without a father so mine was, too.

I tried to visit your father’s grave but couldn’t find it. I will try again.

All of this to say I will try again.


I am not happy but I am happy to be sad

Living a life of confusion

Where everything appears to be a mess

And weird to be precise

A flight of birds came to bring that sort of happiness

Take away the gloom squeezed in the life

But it wouldn’t happen, for it is good to be in gloom

It is good to think about it

It is good to lament the happy memories

It brings a better person out of you

Who knows what it means to be sad?

And how precious the happiness really is

How lovely it is to be in the delightful aura around you

How cruel life looks like once enters the sadness

I am not happy but I am happy to be sad.


A Perch Upon a Wall

I am perched upon a wall, this low brick wall of the college of my youth and i am watching passersby.  A woman, a mother, perhaps, not a student, stops to take pictures  of a cherry tree in bloom.  Not unusual except that it is night.  It is night.  I watch her in fascination, entertained, as she, a tourist, moves around the small tree, capturing this angle, then that.

For a moment it’s all I need, this wall, this woman, this tree, her focus, the rest of us forgotten in her task.  I have all I need, this wall, this perch, to be audience to her passion, a false connection, a bit of her joy that I can steal and make my own.

Author’s note:  Pingback to fourwindowspress added March 24, 2012 because Sonja’s Night Blossoms reminded me of this moment again.  Thank you to Thomas Davis and the amazingly talented family over there.  


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