A Pink Balloon by Terveen Gill

She was there. And then she wasn’t.

Ten seconds, and my world had changed, forever.

The horror. No words can explain it.

I shouldn’t have let go of her tiny hand. But she wanted a pink balloon.

She was right next to me. Her pink dress visible from the corner of my eye. I’m a mother, I’m supposed to have hawk-eyed vision. I must have blinked too hard, or maybe the balloon man stole too much of my attention.

When I turned and smiled, the balloon bobbing in my hand, there was only an empty space. No pink dress, no black curls, no baby girl of mine.

I froze, my breath caught in my mouth. And then I exhaled. I emptied my lungs and then filled them again, screaming her name as loud as I could.


I didn’t think of moving but my feet tore ahead. My blank mind had to keep up. My heart filled my throat as I shouted her name, over and over.

She had to be near, her tiny feet in her tiny, blue shoes, neither were used to wandering too far.

But something told me she wasn’t walking. She was being carried away, too swiftly for anyone to notice her scared face and teary eyes. All two-year-olds were known for throwing tantrums left and right.

The perfect ruse to steal an innocent child from her mother. A godless act that deserved the devil’s wrath. My raspy voice was dying.

Please God, let me find her.

I was running out of time. Everything a blur. I’d heard of miracles. When would I see one?

I saw pink. Behind the tree. I ran and tripped on an upturned root. My chin hit the ground.

I let go again. Just like her, the pink balloon floated away.

21 comentarios sobre “A Pink Balloon by Terveen Gill

  1. You captured every mother’s nightmare, Terveen. No matter how hawk-eyed we think we are, there’s always that moment of terror. Been there, done it, luckily with a happy ending in my case, but would you believe it: I managed to ‘lose’ my son on the top of mount Vesuvius when he was still very young! You couldn’t make it up. There was a huge crowd of people, one moment, I held on to his hand and the next, a group of tourists swept by and he was gone. I had all sorts of visions… I even thought he might have fallen into the volcano. Of course, he hadn’t. We were reunited – it was probably just a few minutes, but it felt like a life time.

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    1. That’s horrifying, Britta. It must have been a state of panic for you. Happened to me once at a shopping mall. I was frantic and definitely imagining the worst. Its moments like these that make one regret every prior action and thought. For those who have lost a loved one, there’s no consolation. Thank you.

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  2. You know me always looking for a fun post. Thought I’d found it. Little girl with pink balloon gets floated off to the pink horizon. Drop Sara drop sweetie. But mummy it’s a long way! Don’t worry I’ll catch you……. ‘Twas not to be…….not to worry. You did a good serious job………..

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  3. Talk about blind, abject terror… Having never been a parent myself, I can’t imagine what this must be like. I’ve had the experience of becoming lost from my mom in grocery stores when I was a kid, but that’s not the same thing. This story is brutal and hits so hard. Harrowing stuff, and so well constructed (as always). Another mine-masterpiece. 🙂

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  4. That is so very frightening, and well written. It reminds me of an old professor of mine, who while in Portland with his daughter, watched as she stepped of the sidewalk and into the street and was killed by a car. So very sad. Things happen so quickly. An important write, Terveen.

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