Monday, August 8, 2011


Alice Glenday.

A divorced father is picking up his daughter at her mother’s flat. For an afternoon visit. And nothing goes right. They are awkward with each other. She is obviously angry at her father whom she blames for the divorce. She keeps wanting to go back to her mother.

He tries to entertain her at a playground. She is afraid of the swings and the slide. He buys her a red balloon. She breaks free of him and runs to the car. He catcher and yells at her. The balloon breaks.

And then a police officer, hearing her scream, asks her what is wrong. When the father says he is her father, the policeman asks her if this is true. She says no.

At the police station, he gives the police officer the directions to her mother’s apartment. The police officer dials his wife’s phone number. When the phone is answered, his wife yells at her ex-husband. “What have you gotten yourself into?”

He leaves the police station. The police officer gives him  a half-hearted apology and prepares to take the little girl back to her mother. He says goodbye to his daughter. She says only, “I didn’t want it [the balloon] to break.” He says, “Neither did I.” Their relationship irretrievably broken.

Rating: ***** out of *****.

About the Author: “Alice Glenday came to New Zealand from Canada as a young war bride. She has a passion for reading modern literature, and writing is in her bloodstream. Her stories have been published in England, Canada, Australia and India, as well as in New Zealand. She was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award; her noel Follow, Follow, won the Auckland Centennial Fiction Prize. P. 81.

Short Story International #27. Ed. Sylvia Tankel. (August 1981), pp. 71-81.

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