Sea Spray and Balloons

I remember my father bringing my brother and I to Manila Bay when we were very little. My mother would have us put on stiff dark blue jeans and cotton T-shirts emblazoned with the popular Japanese robot cartoon of the day. She would then herd us to my father’s blue- grey Opel, and make our way to Manila Bay.

As soon as we arrive, my brother and I would bolt of the car and run around like hounds let loose on a rabbit hunt. The air smelled like seaweed, the spray of ocean mist descended on us like a salty veil. The afternoon sun was warm and the sky cast a buttery-sanguine glow. We were happy — jumping around and enjoying the breeze.

My mother tried her best to rein us in but it was futile. She kept shouting at us to stay close, but my father just laughed and told we’ll be fine.

There were people along the sidewalk selling all sorts of things, but it was the colourful balloons that made my brother and I more excited. We pestered our mother for a couple of them. She would shush us, but she would eventually give in, handing a couple of pesos to the balloon vendor before we grasp the fragile threads that held the balloons.

We watched the sun set over the shimmering waters, the wind still blowing salt in our hair. We all sat on the edge of the concrete barrier that separated the main road from the rocky shore. My parents were having their adult conversation with each other, and my brother and I didn’t really care. We clutched our balloons and talked on top of our lungs. My mother shushed us a couple of times and eventually gave up.