He didn’t see the kid at first. Or maybe he did and hoped that she had wandered ahead of her actual mother rolling the stroller behind them. He ducked his head under the balloon tower, saw their fingers intertwined. Could it be her little sister? A niece, perhaps? Could a woman so young and beautiful— perfectly blushed cheeks, plump, ruby lips, naturally golden hair— already be married and have a child?
He remembered something his twice-divorced mother always said when he was little. The good ones are always taken.
“Excuse me, sir. Are you gonna buy a balloon or just stare at that lady’s butt the whole time?”
He looked down at the balloon woman’s naked ring finger. And the mouthy, cynical ones wonder why they can’t keep a man.
“I’ll take the Olaf.” He shoved the dollar into her fist, snatched the balloon from the pile.
“Imagine how much fun you’ll have in summer!” He handed the little girl the balloon, winked at her mother. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.
word count: 172
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.