Red Balloons



There are moments in between Sully and I, that I have waited a lifetime for. I experience them, savvy enough to know this might not be forever, so I live present. But lately, I have felt alone and left behind by him…. I feel caged living in his home. And I want to run.

We made the choice to bring our ailing friend, Kiks and her two children to our home to live until she dies from cancer, with grace and surrounded by love. My Lie and Die foreign aide crew has always been about more than words. We practice what we proselytize. All for one and one for all. Our house is full to busting and that wont stop anytime soon. Kiks is one of the most loved humans I have ever known and righteously so. From an ugly childhood to a Doogie Howser teen era… Kiks is a gifted accomplished Dr who dedicated her entire life to the care of whom the world left behind.

I am stoic until I am not. I have a release valve.. I lose it and then I am back to steady. I steer this life until death ship. I hand out the guilt, I organize the visits, the activities, the placement of all things that will be left behind. I giggle at her end of life love affair with our best friend. I hold her babies as if they were mine. I hold and kiss her cheek as if she were my prettiest babydoll.

She felt death creeping last night, so I drank shots with her and cinched her in a corset and my top hat. I petted her hand and tied a bow into her curled hair then I sent her to her waiting lover, so she might be kissed back to happy. I love her so deeply that my heart hurts.I want forever for her and yet, I see the pain sneaking into her body so quickly it feels like a flood. It easy to say we will do everything when you have time. But when your time is measured so quickly… It feels like hyperventilating.

My Man, Sully… was and is so close to her. They were thick as thieves for so many years. Such amazing friends.  Yet he voluntarily spoke about going back out into the field for his job before his time…Taking the long shifts. Talking to me about responsibility and career moves, until I screamed at the top of my lungs like a mad woman and reminded him that I used to be his boss for a good decade….I know the difference between dedication and a fool.

He can’t watch her die.

I can?

I yelled about love, I hissed about loyalty. I SHUT DOWN.  Why does no one get… its not about us!!!!!? We get to keep gettin on. She loses everything! EVERY FUCKING THING.  The end. End of. Gap closed.

SO it plays on. Our relationship faltered as we both tried to be other than what we are. We fought and pushed each other away in a game of pull me push me all week.

Yesterday I went to a crazy auction… Something that belongs in a movie for its madcap characters and magical treasures that you have to have imagination to see the worth in.

I went with tiny money and found an immense hoard.  So, I call my man who is mad at me.. he agrees to come over and shows with ice coffee and wet wipes for my hands…and extra money…lol… He surveys my cart full and and my sweaty wild hair n flushed face…… he leans into my body, holds my head so gently and kisses me so so sweetly….. “Jesus, I am trying to change you arent I baby?” he asks me. Yes. Yes he is.

It was there he saw me, again. Did I find a cache of treasure? Yes I did. But he saw the girl that can make something from anything, the woman that knows the little things matter. I don’t want Kiks and her kids to make do until the end. I want it to be spectacular. I want them to feel joy and surprise…I need money for that. No matter what anyone says… no matter who says they got it. I need MY money to make sure.. every red balloon floats…

There is a new golden young woman on my mans aide team….. and she has taken a fancy to him….she is impressiveness personified..n with all of her degrees and blonde-ness ness….all perfect teeth and just right outfits. …She is the skin I grew out of ….  And if we are honest, isn’t that why he is able to love and look past the scars… step over the crevice I have fallen into? Isn’t it true that a part of him loves me for all the years of what I was?

Sully was smiling as he packed his truck and my tiny milkdud convertible with my treasures. He picked me up and sat me on the wall of his truck side so I could take a pic to send my mom. As he lifted me down, I said.

“Goldie Hawn at work, will never burn like I do. She wont love you with the honesty that I am capable of. She wont be as filthy, as she hasn’t been where we have. She definitely wont be as true. Love me Sully.. Don’t stray. Please. I have to love Kiks until the end. Help ME, Goose> be there for me. If you cant face it, face me.  

I sat there tears streaming as I said I am strong enough to love her until the end in spite of all of u. You, you just have to be there for me or I cant….. I need a safe place to crash. A place to be held and shielded from my immense fear of losing her.”

He smile faded as he choked up… He petted my hair and said nothing when I needed to hear everything. We drove home. He and the guys put up the brand new play outdoor cabin for Dutch. I went to take a bath.. He came in…Brought me wine. Took away the sea sponge and began washing my shoulders…. He admitted a crush. AN instant closeness…  to the new girl. He further confessed to having wondered what he had gotten into with a little red headed woman that leaves no one behind, despite his having been indoctrinated with our Lie and Die code, he wondered how I could stay so loyal, so unwavering in the face of guaranteed pain.. I offered to leave. He said he wouldn’t want the future without me. Stalemate.

I stole Kiks from her bed with her ” this is the end” lover. I showed her the pink of the dawn and stared at her as she watched the rise from our roof. At one point she took an ear bud from my ear and laid curled in a loop with me as we watched the sky. We have watched dawns and sunsets together for more years than most couples.  Its been a long long ride toegther. AM I changed? Yes. Do I resemble the old me? Vaguely.  But when Kiks touches my face, running her finger over the scarred curve of my lip.. well in my bruised flaking heart…… I am the same girl that chased down the muddy sugar cane fields of my granddaddy’s farm, pleading, after who I thought was my father. Falling… screaming… arms reached out as he drove away. I am the tiny girl with the flower behind her ear, that waits. I am the women that steps on any vista anywhere and does what is needed.   I have so many faults that I turned into strengths to spite life. But at my heart is that broken child. And it is the broken that makes me love the way I do.

The spider webs of cancer in Kiks are showing and if I am honest its fucking murdering me.

I am angry that another woman penetrated Suls n I…. However benign.. when I needed a person so deeply. A person I can trust. My person.  When he said he had my six, I took that as an oath, not a suggestion …


I want to skywrite the story of Kiks for all the world to see. I want to rob death and bring Kev back to life to tell her to fight. I want to believe in God and miracles. I want to play every song on the jukebox before its to late. I want to never not see her smile.

Everywhere we go that Dutch, her son, sees balloons he asks for a red one. He whispers to the balloon and lets it go. He watches it, until it blows out of sight. He is sending a message to his daddy up in the sky. Its red so his daddy will see it coming.

I am going to write here. I am going to write differently. I am going to send my own red balloons in the form of words into the void.  Whispered messages of the contents of my heart. The resurrection of the woman, that the child in the sugar cane fields grew into. The anthropology, the story, the journey of Newt Kai.









3 thoughts on “Red Balloons

  1. Yet again you move me to tears with your fierce brave heart. Worn on your sleeve to beautiful effect. Life is savagely wonderful. I loath and love its fragility. Sending up my own red balloonot in the other side of the big water whilst watching the same moon rise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have known you now for almost five years and have been proud of you so many times during that time, but never so much as now and what you are doing for Kiki and especially for her two children. You will demur, but I will repeat what I’ve said before. You are my hero. I would trust you with my life – and my death. The rest I’ve said in DM earlier.

    With great love and respect.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is way too much of a simplification of a very difficult situation, but when I read this… I read about two people grieving very differently, and yet for so much of the same thing. The time line of this horrible illness is going to hurt all of you so differently and be manifested in so many painful ways (her and the children most of all, but the rest of you in widening circles) and it must be terrifying. How could you (and Sully) not be angry and passionate and defensive and protective and afraid and looking for ways to escape and cope? You talk about running away for a day or a weekend, he talks about running away to escape, to someone he might be able to help. You talk about being angry (on Goldie Hawn rightfully so). I bet he’s angry too, even if it comes out differently. I would be.

    Grief is hell on earth, and you can see it coming in a head-on crash right now. It’s going to be hard. There are the PTSD triggers and the depression and the anger and the bargaining and the fear of who will be next. I want to say love them as hard as you can, but you are already doing that. I want to say everything will be fine, but we both know that isn’t going be the case for Kiks, even if every person on earth prayed for a miracle. I want to say all those cliches that are supposed to help but never do, about time easing all wounds and angels wings, but we both know that is a bunch of crap. Losing the people you love hurts and it’s unfair, and you and the others have every right to those emotions. It’s hard to control how they come out.

    You’re stronger than you know, and more beautiful than you realize, and your heart has grown more sizes in your life to be a size larger than anyone ever knew a heart could be. And by that I mean you have the courage of a lionheart. So just do the best you can and go easy on your soul, no matter what.


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