I sat on the floor of his kitchen, eyes wide, directed at him. The vacancy of shock had taken over my system which explained the unusual pout on my normally chipper face. It must have looked strange which was why he said
“I don’t get it, where are the bubbles”.
He tried his best to put on a kind face even though he knew very well that he was the one to pop, every, single, one of them. The image of those pearly whites burned to the back of my lids.
That crocodile smile.
I tried not to blame him, thats how things transpire, they eventually expire. In the best and worst way we had drained each other dry and while he confidently bottled himself up, re-packed, ready to be bought and sold, I was left fizzled and flat.
But those words never left, they stuck to me like bubblegum on the bottom of my shoe. Even months later when I was sitting under a tree at a Canada Day celebration I could still hear them, see the residue that muck had made and the debris collected along the way. I brushed my fingers through the tall grass, wondering if it would clean me, instead it glued me to my seat. I stared at my family with skeptical eyes. I felt their energy bouncing off of one another, and felt my own not existing. My brain was miles away chasing any remains of those darn bubbles.
“Where are they?”
I asked myself, getting frustrated at their absence. Or maybe, it was what I didn’t want to admit. I was still frustrated with him. I shook my head of such silly thoughts, I had no need for bubbles anymore. No one, aside from me, seemed to care about cotton candy dreams. Best to put that immaturity to rest. I looked through everyone, searching for any tie to that bubbly version of my past self, knowing very well that if I found a single thread, I’d sever it immediately.
That was until the first firework went off and I was jarringly brought back to reality. In the heat I let the day escape me. Everything around was dark, save the recoil of that very loud...
The sound startled me almost as much as the following Ooh's and Ahh's. I didn't see the vibrant display in the air, but could see the reflection in my sisters big eyes, all that razzle and all that dazzle.
It made my stomach churn.
I realized my clutch in that long grass had intensified, where I once brushed softly through the superficial layers I now had a full grasp down to the soil. Like a conductor I felt the heat from the wick, through the roots in the ground and fire filled that emptiness inside my gut, the spot normally reserved for sweetness.
I had to get up and leave.
More explosions occurred behind me which worked in my favor as a distraction. No one seemed to notice me storm by. Clearly invisible, I decided to take on the full role of pissed off poltergeist and stomped in as many leftover festival snacks as I could, disrupting plentiful perfect picnics, bursting any bubble I saw.
Like Orpheus I told myself not to look back, not for a moment, and like he did, I almost failed. One particularly razzly and dazzly firework was so bright it lit up the whole sky and I could see it in my peripherals. I felt the smallest crack of a smile slip on the corner of my face. The kind of childish dream one gets in the presence of such a display.
"No" I demanded of myself, allowing my shoulders to shrug and tense up, to shroud myself completely in the cloud I was in. The storm, and me, rolled on.
I put my keys in the ignition and left that scene in a cloud of my cars exhaust. Furrowed brow, clutched grip on the wheel, that same question filtered in again. "Where are the bubbles?"
I Could taste the metal at the back of my throat and decided to accept they were gone for ever.
And they might have been if it weren't for that red light.
It seemed like eternity passed while my car stood there. I refused to let any of the stagnant thoughts that had been stuck up in my head come back to life so I looked out on the sidewalk for a distraction.
It was 11:00pm and I was in a rough neighbourhood. I saw on the horizon what looked like a drunk man without his shirt on walking down the street with a woman.
All sorts of terrible thoughts danced through my head. Their misery would meet my misery and this storm was going to grow bigger like two cold fronts meeting, teaming up, and freezing out this whole freekin' town. I braced myself, expecting to be able to feel it like an internal barometric reading. Like this broken heart of mine worked the same way as a bummed shoulder, a tingly spidey sense for bad weather.
But there was nothing.
I rubbed the crust out of my eyes and took a good long look. The new pops was walking down the street skin to skin with a 4 week old pipsqueek, pressed lovingly to his chest while Mom watched adoringly. My grip loosened, I was caught off guard and confused. I focused in on the air around me and the only thing I could feel was their overwhelming pride and joy.
Pop's smile, It's brightness blinded me, it out shone every damn star in that darkened sky. Their energy and love radiated farther than those darn fireworks I could still hear in the distance.
It was too much.
I looked up to the moon as my eyes transformed from glazed to glossed to globbed. With a slight quiver of my lip I begged no, muttered softly under my breath but it was useless.
That's when the Bubbles returned.