The boy ran through the park, his companion, Mr Balloon at his side. For the briefest moment it was just the two of them, the rest of the world melted away and he was lost in a place where a boy and his balloon could go anywhere and do anything. That was rudely shattered as he remembered that his brother was chasing him around the tree, and so suddenly it was just the two of them, their balloons and the tree…and they were happy.
They’d spent a brilliant day in the warm sunshine playing by the river. Mummy and Daddy were there, so was Nanny, and his uncle and aunt and their new baby daughter, his cousin…a new word for him. He felt so safe and secure having his whole family around him. Everything was as it ever had been and ever would be.
His brother, if truth be told, knew differently. He felt a little less secure, he knew that things weren’t as they ever had been. They didn’t, for example, go to that church anymore, Daddy had a new job, they lived in a new house and, well, he was sure he remembered a time when Daddy didn’t sleep on the sofa.
They both ran off across the park, barely glancing back at their parents. After all, they would always be there, looking out for them, that was the one thing that would never change. That was the one thing they could always be sure of.
Later, some other place, but by the same river. The two boys weren’t there, they were at home, tucked up in their beds, little knowing that four words were about to change everything. It’s strange, it should take more than four words, really. It should take hours of debate, it should take careful consideration, a weighing up of all the facts. But no, it just takes four words.
Mummy and daddy stood outside the cinema, a cool breeze blowing at them across the river. “Are you ok?” she asked him, the same thing she’d asked him a thousand times before. However, this time, for some reason, he’d decided not to lie and say, “I’m fine.”
Instead those four words came out that would change the lives of those two boys forever. Four simple words that could never be unspoken. For once he spoke the truth, and everything changed.
He simply said, “I’m just not happy.”