Monday 2 October 2023

Birthday Balloons by Leonie Jarrett, a glass of pink lemonade

“I’m sure Daddy will be here any minute Ollie,” I say smiling. What an actress I have become.


“Why did Ollie’s Dad disappoint him (and me) over and over again?” I think to myself as I inflate yet another birthday balloon. “Why isn’t Dave (that’s Ollie’s Dad) helping me? Ollie is his child too. He should want to be here. He should want to celebrate Ollie’s 4th birthday. What’s wrong with him?”


I should have seen it coming. I should have realised that Dave was too good to be true. We’d met in a bar. Dave was full of flattery, telling me how gorgeous I was and how I was “The One”. I should have seen the red flags when days passed sometimes without so much as a text message. Dave would seemingly disappear off the face of the Earth but, in a flash, he would be back telling me again that I was the best thing to ever happen to him and that he saw a future for us together.


I fell for it. I feel for him. Hook, line and sinker. I was 26 – old enough to know better but clearly not old enough to see through Dave.


The pregnancy with Ollie was not planned but I was happy about it. After all, Dave was my forever love. We would be a family a little earlier than planned but we’d work it out.


Dave didn’t see it that way. He lashed at me, snarled that I “had trapped him.” Telling Dave I was pregnant seemed to instantly extinguish any love, any flame, any feeling he held for me.


And that flame never returned. I slowly came to accept it but I thought that Dave would still love his child. Who doesn’t?? Look, I guess he does love Ollie in his own selfish way but he doesn’t love Ollie enough to put him first. Which is why I have come to expect nothing from Dave except that he comes to his son’s birthday party; that he at least sees his four year old son on his birthday.


Dave was supposed to be here hours ago to help set up. I text him again. “Where are you?” That’s now five unanswered texts today. I silently fume and inflate more balloons.


“Mummy, where is Daddy?” My beautiful boy looks up at me with his big, green eyes wide. I can’t disappoint him. If Dave doesn’t show, I’ll make up some excuse. I’ll lie to my kid rather than disappoint him.


“I’m sure Daddy will be here any minute Ollie,” I say smiling.

About the author 

 Leonie Jarrett lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband of more than three decades, her four adult children and her two  Golden Retrievers. Leonie has variously been a lawyer and a business owner. Now that she is semi-retired, Leonie is loving writing some poetry, fiction and non-fiction. 

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