Nonfiction account of why I have a bad association with bubbles.
Bubbles didn't always make me sad. I used to love them as a little girl, how they glistened with a million different colors. I used to love trying to blow them up really big, bigger than my head. Alas, I was only able to do this on one or two occasions. But when I did make this happen, it was magical.
So what ruined the appeal of bubbles for me? What else? -- a boy.
I'll set the scene for you -- It is 1999. I am 20 years old. It's my second year of college and the responsibility of having to figure out a career (my college major was still undecided at that point), not to mention get a job, is wigging me the heck out. On top of all that, things have been stressful with my boyfriend, whom I'll call John. I keep feeling him pulling away, threatening to slip through my sticky fingers.
Cut to our last night together -- We are out together on a date. It is Saturday night and he is strangely quiet. Desperate to see him smile again, I suggest we visit a toy store. To my surprise, he says yes. At the toy store, I purchase a blue bottle of bubbles on a whim. I am finally rewarded with one of John's smiles, but it fails to reach his eyes. In the parking lot, I am pushing back the tears now, unable to escape the feeling that the ground is about to be ripped out from under my feet. I unscrew the cap of my bubble bottle and blow some halfhearted bubbles into the still night air. It is May in Miami, hot and windless. The bubbles float in midair for a moment before disappearing into nothingness. As if they never existed.
Eleven years later, I have long since been over "John," but the sight of bubbles never fails to make me sad.