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Dad doesn’t like balloons

By @MeaningfulMee

Dad doesn't like balloons

Dad doesn’t like balloons.

My dad doesn’t like balloons, at least not anymore. 

My sister says that when she was younger he loved them. 

He used to make her animals out of them,

Mother said he did the same for me. 

Before I could remember. 

Before he left. 

I know where he went, 

But we don’t talk about it.

Last time I asked dad a question,

One about the war. 

He looked away and got up from the armchair. 

He left the house and mother sent me to bed.

I don’t know what time he came back,

But it was dark when he did.

He stumbled past my bedroom, 

Went straight to bed. 

I think he went to the pub.

My sister says she could smell the whiskey in his breath. 

I don’t mention it anymore.

No one mentions the war.

I was excited,

When I heard that dad was coming home.

For months we thought he was dead. 

He disappeared. 

When he went, 

He won’t tell. 

I don’t think he told mother,

But I think she knows.

Or at least knows better. 

I’ve never seen my mother cry, 

Except for that one time. 

I walked past her bedroom and she was holding a card. 

It wasn’t very pretty though,

It didn’t look like art.

It was small, it looked very proper. 

I stood there, 

I wasn’t sure what to do.

My mother saw and she slammed the door. 

My sister told me to go out and play. 

When I came back she told me,

Dad mightn’t be coming home. 

That he might be dead.

I don’t know quite what death is but I guess it’s sad.

Very sad. 

I went to some many funerals this past few years, 

It’s so boring. 

That’s what it is, 

Boring.

And uncomfortable, 

Why do I have to wear my good clothes?

I mean their eyes get closed, 

It ain’t like they can see.  

We didn’t have to go to dad’s funeral.

Not yet anyway.

Mother says he is safe now.

It was strange. 

She listened to the radio one day.

Next thing you know she was happy,

Happier than I’ve ever seen her.

There were tears in her eyes,

But she said they didn’t count. 

Cos she was happy so happy. 

She kept saying that dad was coming home. 

That he was coming home soon.

Over and over again.

I told her I heard it the first time but she didn’t stop.

I was excited too.

I just knew he would come home,

He promised us that he would.

I think he might have lied though.

I think there is an alien sitting in the living room.

That’s not my dad.

I don’t remember him much,

But before I was different. 

I know that much.

 The day he came home. 

It was strange, 

We made lots of cakes and decorated the house.

He gave us all a hug and at first, he seemed happy.

But he went straight upstairs. 

He didn’t come down at all that night. 

I think I heard him cry.

But he tells me men don’t cry.

I bought him some balloons,

I spent my very own pocket money.

I thought he’d make me an animal,

And at first, 

he did.

He made me a dog and I loved it dearly.

He was smiling and it was fun.

Then I messed it all up.

I blow the balloon too much,

It went pop.

It was loud but I didn’t think he’d mind.

He did.

He ran upstairs again and mother told me off.

I still don’t know why. 

Dad doesn’t like balloons.

My sister says they remind him of the war. 

I asked her why.

She told me it’s the sound,

The bombs went pop,

Pop,

Pop.

Just like balloons do.

I told her that he needed to toughen up. 

She told me that it was different,

This time. 

There’s a look of thinks that scare dad now.

I was fearless before.

I don’t know why it is different.

But I don’t question it. 

I’m scared of my dad when he’s scared.

You never know what he’ll do.

He breaks glasses.

He hits walls.

Sometimes he just cries.

I love balloons.

But we never get them,

Not anymore.

My dad doesn’t like balloons.

I think he left something behind,

Lost it in the war.

The man that sits there isn’t like my dad,

Not at all. 

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