Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Bridge Clown

The Bridge Clown

There was on the bridge a clown with balloons that bumped and bobbed upon strings from his white-gloved hand.

Seeing this, the man approached. “I should like one of your balloons,” he said.

“Have you not enough already?” asked the clown, pointing into the air.

Glancing up, the man discovered scores of balloons overhead, their strings converging into his firmly gripped hand.

“Where did those come from” he asked in surprise.

The clown laughed good-naturedly. “Look closer,” he said. The man squinted until he saw, filmy and indistinct within each balloon, a scene from his own experience.

“They are your life,” said the clown. “All that’s happened – whatever went right, whatever went wrong, the things you can’t remember, the things you can’t forget . . . those balloons are you.”

The man gazed at the colored spheres hovering in the sky, peering intently into the remembrances portrayed there. Sometimes what he saw made him smile, but mostly tears gathered in his sad eyes.

“Now,” whispered the clown, as though confiding a great mystery, “If you would leave off being aged and become a child again, let them go.”

At this the man quavered. The thought of releasing the balloons of his life was terrifying.

“If I do, what shall be left to me?” he asked fearfully.

“Only that which the wind cannot blow away,” answered the clown.

The man considered. After a moment he selected a small, limp balloon that had lost much of its air. The scene therein was so indistinct as to be nearly invisible. “Maybe I won’t miss this one much,” he reflected, and let the string go.

At first he felt dreadful anxiety watching the balloon he had held so long drift higher and higher until lost from sight. But once it was gone his heart was lighter.

The clown nodded sagely at him. “Now you know what few come to know,” he said.

Then a strong breeze arose, buffeting the many balloons and tugging at the man’s arm. His fist felt tired and sore from clenching the strings tightly. How long had he been doing this? For always, it seemed.

And recalling what the clown had said, he sighed . . . and loosened his grip.


  1. Thanks for this wonderful story! I really enjoyed it. It is a beautiful piece of work. I always found the images you evoke, of clowns and ballons and other carnivalesque images, to hold a kind of sinister power. With these evocative images as a backdrop to this tale, I really felt the stirring of the wonder, excitement and terror the man in this story must have felt. He is faced with such a momentous choice, terrified by the irreversible nature of his decision, feverish with doubt. Is the clown a devil in disguise or an angel come to set him free? Yet in spite of this, the truth can be plainly seen, that all he holds so dear is nothing but air in a shiny package. Anyways, I elaborate for my sake, not yours. Bravo!


  2. Bravo... yippy... me too, I second that!!!! Makes me wanna start poppin'mine!!!! Thank you!