Balloons Are for Kids

By Kay Frazier

My friend hadn’t had a proper birthday party as a child. At 45 years old, she organized one for herself, complete with five friends, cake, and balloons. Each of us got to take one balloon home. Mine was silver, an unusual color for a balloon.

I boarded my city bus for home, thinking about the balloon’s fate. I was going away for the weekend. The magical shine of the balloon would rest in my apartment, unappreciated, and its joyous spirit would gradually leak and it would sink, hopeless to the floor, to be tossed into the garbage when I returned home.

I sat down across from a young girl and her mother. The girl’s eyes widened at the sight of the balloon. She couldn’t take her eyes off it.

Finally, she blurted, “Balloons are for kids!”

I paused, pondered this briefly and then solemnly said, “You’re right.”

I turned to her mother and asked, “Can I give her this balloon?” She smiled and replied, “Yes.”

With great ceremony, I handed the balloon to the young girl. The shine of the balloon was reflected in her eyes. Her whole body smiled.

My stop came. I got off the bus and went home. I don’t know if I remained at all in the little girl’s thoughts or if her mind was completely filled with thoughts of the balloon. I don’t know how long the balloon lasted. I never saw the girl again, but I’ve thought of her often and the joy and splendor shared through such a small, ephemeral thing.

(c) 2016 Kay Frazier, all rights reserved.


Kay’s essay exemplifies what I think of as “Flash Memoir”–brief essays that capture a small moment of time, but invite contemplation. They work in a “flash,” like a lightning bolt that suddenly illuminates a landscape.

What memory of a moment has stuck with you, that begs you to write it down? Send me your “flash memoirs” for possible publication on True Stories Well Told!


About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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1 Response to Balloons Are for Kids

  1. Phyllis M. Washburn says:

    Loved “Balloons are For Kids” for its concise flash writing and its inquiring thought provoking that fallowed…an instant unexpected gift bestowed … both the child and the giver experienced


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