Stride, Regret, Needle

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
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It happened quickly. The party was in full swing and all of a sudden Jamie came downstairs, sewing needle in hand, and began popping all of the balloons.

At first, the sound of the music, laughter, cheering and conversation drowned out the popping but after a while, Jamie hit her stride and the sound of instant deflation began turning heads.

“Why, Jamie?”

“We’re having a great time, aren’t you?”

“This is your party, Jamie. What are you doing?”

Those were questions that Jamie pretended not to hear. She just kept popping balloons, and there were many. She had been inflating balloons all week for this day, with a rental helium tank. All 300-something balloons had been single-handedly inflated and tied by her.

As she worked on the balloons during the week, she thought about herself. This would be her great coming out party to show all her friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors and colleagues that she, Jamie, was the string that kept the balloons at the party, metaphorically speaking. Although, for a split second she worried the metaphor would be lost since she was popping them.

And so now, into popping maybe over 100 balloons, Jamie started relishing in the reactions of her guests. The force and energy of all the partiers was hushed by a single balloon popper.

Some of the guests began to leave. Coworkers and neighbors glanced around, made excuses and left. Friends chuckled nervously or tried approaching Jamie but she would only look them in the eyes and pop the next balloon.

Jamie’s friends began to leave and shortly after, so did her family. There was only herself and another girl she recognized from work who was passed out in a chair in the kitchen.

Of the 300-something balloons, she had popped roughly 280. She had lost count when she tried paying attention to her guests.

She allowed herself a brief chuckle and started her walk upstairs. Struck suddenly by an idea, she went back into the kitchen and opened the miscellaneous drawer. She pulled out a Sharpie and walked up to the girl passed out. On her forehead she wrote “regret nothing”, then she capped the pen and headed upstairs for bed.