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To little kids, balloon men are the most skillful beings in existence, weaving magic in to a delightful animal. To an average person, they are just people who make balloon animals. It gets that simple. They do, in fact, bring joy to the table, but only when you are in the mood for it. Other times, it is just annoying.

About 6 years ago, my family went out to dinner in a place somewhere in New Jersey.  Anyways, one morning I was in this very irritable mood. I didn’t want to get up, stand up, or look up. It was one of those mornings where I just hated everything. So, I didn’t really want to go out to dinner. At all. I was feeling like someone dropped a fifty pound dictionary on my foot, or rubbed the tip of their fingernails against a chalkboard. I don’t know why I was annoyed, I just was. Once we arrived, I could taste the happiness, and cheer coming from all of the people. Disgusting. It may look like a cheerful restaurant to the average Mary (see what I did there), but to me a was a messy, disgusting lair of screaming kids, food being flung, and just sad stuff. A waitress showed us to our seat, and I mimicked her mouth movement when she told us where we would be sitting. Because of that, my Dad eyed a dagger at me.

Back at him, I gave a dagger. “What would you like to drink, hon?” the waitress asked me in a crackly voice. “I want orange juice.” I muttered. The waitress leaned in closer. “What was that, hon?” Again, I muttered, “I said I want some orange juice.” Every time I spoke, the woman grew more and more confused. “Now, hon, you’re goin’ ta’ have to speak up louder than that, because I don’t know what you’re sayin’.” This made me mad. Couldn’t this woman see what kind of state I was in? At her, I glared. “I WANT SOME ORANGE JUICE!!!!” The woman then squeaked very quietly, “Ok.”

She walked away, with her high heels making continuous clacks as she walked by. My parents both focused their attention on what I just did, and my dad said, “Charlie! That was so rude of you!” But I wasn’t paying attention. All of the words that spilled out of their mouth were just meaningless sounds. What really caught my attention was a man. It was…

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The random noises the adults make in Charlie Brown were the only sounds I heard coming out of my parents mouths at that moment. I didn’t care what the heck they were saying. They could be plotting a burglary for all I cared! My attention focused only on the balloon man. But to make matters even better (through my eyes), I saw him hold the most magnificent giraffe balloon right in his skillful hands. My eyes glistened in the light it shined upon me, and at that my mind was set on getting that one giraffe balloon. Whatever I have to do; scale a thorn covered wall, climb a treacherous mountain, stop an atomic bomb! I needed that giraffe.

I creepily watched the balloon man from the wonderful giraffe of his, and thought that any second he would come over to our table, and while streamers floated down from the roof, and a magnificent choir sang, he would hand me that giraffe. My eyes were closed while I imagined that sweet vision, but one I had opened them up, I saw the hands of his fork over that giraffe to a little boy. How dare he? That boy probably sucked on rats tails, chewed up worms, and spat acid, yet he gave it to him! Ugh, how I deserved that giraffe, and how that little boy deserved to stick his head in some dirt. My head was completely scrambled, no thought was straight. Angrily, I stood up from the booth we were sitting at, and lunged for the table. “Charlie, where are you going?” My mother question, grasping my wrist to not let me go to completely kill that boys spirit. I tried to loosen her grip, and I pulled in the direction to the giraffe. “I’m going to…uh….go…to the bathroom?” I hesitantly replied. She was yet to loosen her killer grip against my wrist, though she didn’t. “Ok, but do you need me to come with yo-” “I’m ok!” I interrupted. Very slowly and cautiously, she let go of my arm, but then I rocketed off once her grip was fully loosened.

I dodged waitresses, pushed strollers out of the way, and maneuvered my way through what seemed like a maze of tables. Once my mom saw that I wasn’t going in the right direction, she banged her head on the table, with an everlasting groan on the same note. Back to me. When my ‘mommy to me’ senses started tingling, I looked over at our table, and saw her stand up, and walk over in my direction. In a panic, I knelt down and ducked under the table beside me. Under there, all I saw were the shoes of people, and all I could feel (besides uncomfortableness), was the gum stuck to the top of the table. In front of me, I saw what seemed like millions of stranger’s legs move without an end, and the clack of the soles of their shoes because mesmerizing. It struck me in a daze, but I quickly shook it off once I saw the bottom of a long dress in front of me. I poked my little head out from underneath the table, and I saw that the dress belonged to waitress! She was seating people where I was hiding!

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They would find out my motives! Swiftly, I ducked my head back under the table, and shut my eyes while my fingers were crossed extremely tightly. I peered one of the two eyes open, only to see that the waitress invited the family of four to sit right down where I was hiding. “That’s the soup of the day!” I heard the mom call out. “Why didn’t we ever go here before?” were the following words. I kept watch on her legs, and saw that she was about to cross them. By accident, she kicked me. “Martin? Are those your legs?” Cautiously, I scooted over to the other side, away from the woman, then accidentally bumped straight in to the dad. “No, Diana, that’s not me, in fact, someone just kicked me with their legs! Mike, Trudy, one of you better knock it off.” A tear nearly slipped out of my eye, though I inhaled deeply and sucked it up. “Dad, it wasn’t me!” The Mike said. “I didn’t do it!” The other one added. The man rustled with the red blanket covering the table, enough to reveal what was below. “Then who is bumping against us- Ahhh! There’s a boy under here!” The other three lifted up the covers before you could say “odd child under my table.”

“Who are you?” the boy asked, being that he seemed only a year older than I was. Before breaking out in to tears, I scooted out from under the table with no reply, and jumped out. Right when I stood up and was about to run away, I saw that my mom had popped up in front of me. “Charlie! Where have you been?” were her words. Before I could reply, the man with the name Martin stepped up and said, “Is this your child?” My mom nodded nervously. “Well, we found him lingering under our table just a moment ago!” He pointed out. My mom’s jaw dropped, and after regaining herself she replied, “I’m so, so sorry. He normally isn’t like this!” He scoffed, “Bet he isn’t!” She then replied, “I’m sorry, we have to go,” but then with gritted teeth, she looked at me and said, “Again, he normally isn’t like this!” She silently ushered me away from the table, and even worse, away from the diner. Once the word got out to my dad, he picked me up, and carried me over his shoulders to the car, where we could just wait for my brother and mom to finish eating. Now, six or something years have gone past since that very day, but I can recall never seeing a balloon animal such as magnificent as the one I had witnessed on that very day. It is very sad how my magnificent dream never came to realization. If only I could have seen that giraffe one more time…