For Old Time's Sake

From time to time she’d walk to the funfair and buy herself a balloon, maybe two if she was feeling particularly frisky.


1. "You are so predictable"


She clearly remembered the first time he bought her balloons; “Ann, these are for you,” he'd said and shyly shoved two pink balloons in her left hand. She’d been ecstatic to say the least. “Thank you Robert, oh my gosh, you’re so sweet,” she'd cooed which then were followed by a deep blush and a kiss on her date’s cheek.

The second time she was just as happy, if not even more, and it'd resolved in a heated snogging session when they got home which abruptly came to an end when her mother rudely interrupted them. After that they avoided kissing anywhere near Ann’s house for a while.

The third time was a lot more special; Ann and Robert had been together for five months and decided to spend their anniversary eating at a fancy restaurant and ending it at the funfair. It'd been a lovely evening, really, and Robert topped it by buying her two balloons – the exact same he bought her on their first date - and if that wasn’t swoon-worthy then Ann most certainly didn’t know what was.

The fourth time she kind of expected it. They'd gone out, which had been lovely. They’d talked and laughed, which also has been lovely, and Ann'd gotten a pasta dish which truly had been the best pasta she'd ever consumed. All in all it was a typical night out for the loving couple and as it'd happened on all of their really lovely dates before, Robert bought her balloons. Ann told herself it was cute, that the little tradition of theirs as it seemed to have become was adorable. Which it was.

It really was.

She kept on thinking that for almost five months. Every time he dragged her over to the balloon stall, every time he showed up at her door with balloons in his hands, every time Robert asked the waiter if they sold balloons because “his wonderful girlfriend simply had to have some”, she'd smile, kiss him on the cheek and tell him that it really was a lovely gesture, and that she appreciated the gas-filled balls of rubber/plastic/whatever those balloons were made of… until suddenly it wasn’t all that lovely any more.

Ann stopped counting after the 17th time. It simply wasn’t worth the hassle keeping track of her boyfriend’s fondness of giving her balloons. At some point Ann suspected that Robert felt her irritation towards his airy gifts because suddenly he started buying blue balloons instead of pink.

It really didn’t make that much of a difference - they were still very much filled with air. When he started buying dotted balloons she honestly considered breaking up just because she almost couldn’t stand the fact that their relationship had become so predictable.

Of course Robert was oblivious to all of this. Yes, he always bought her balloons, but he switched types once in a while so it was all good. He genuinely believed that Ann loved the balloons – and him even more for buying them. That’s why, when he on their one year anniversary bought her two pink balloons because he thought it’d be really super cute, got so surprised seeing his sweet, gentle, polite girlfriend puncture them, face red with anger.

“Robert, for god’s sake,” she yelled and ran a hand through her blonde hair, “enough with the god damn balloons.”

He stuttered an “I’m sorry darling, I thought you'd like them” and hurriedly threw the remains of what should've been a sweet gift in the bin next to where they stood.

“Yeah, but I didn’t. I stopped liking them when you started buying them as frequently as you eat.”

“I’m so sorry,” he mumbled.

“Just don’t buy me balloons again. You are so predictable!”

Afterwards they continued dating a bit, but when Robert bought her flowers wrapped in paper decorated with a childish balloon pattern Ann broke it off.

They saw each other a couple years later. Ann was in a relationship with some bloke named Tad who Robert immediately despised. Tad was everything Robert was not; tall, blond and muscular. Robert was sure Tad had been “one of them jocks idiots” in high school.

Because Robert couldn’t contain himself he shadowed the couple for the better part of an hour and what he came to notice was that Tad couldn’t keep his eyes off of the bum belonging to whatever girl he walked past on the street.

‘Okay,’ Robert thought to himself, ‘she wanted someone unpredictable’.

And Tad was most certainly unpredictable because he could waltz off with a girl with a better bum than Ann at any given minute. Robert considered confronting her because he was a decent human being after all but she was a big girl now so he just wrote down the address where they apparently lived and at nightfall he tied a helium balloon to the doorhandle – just for old time’s sake.

Ann knew who’d placed the balloon as soon as she saw it but didn’t really think much of it until she found Tad in bed shagging some 19-year-old slag with very, very loose morals. Then the thought occured to her that she maybe, just maybe should've stuck to the guy who bought her balloons.  Yeah, it was predictable, but it was also so very sweet and so very not cheating, but alas it was too late.

She quickly moved on and ended up with a pretty decent husband who didn’t jump into bed with other girls. He was no Tad, that’s for sure, but he wasn’t a Robert either.

From time to time she'd walk to the funfair and buy herself a balloon, maybe two if she was feeling particularly frisky – just for old time’s sake

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