The Stranger and the Black Balloon

One of our final days in Germany was at the Cologne Cathedral. The crowd was especially heavy that day. A mixture, I guess, of locals and tourists. On the other hand the locals might have stayed home leaving us tourists to fend for ourselves.

I was circling around trying to find the perfect video or picture. I’m pretty sure I spent most of my time attempting such perfection. Yes, a full blown tourist here.

I was looking for a different angle, a certain light, in other words a certain something. 



That’s when I spotted him

It was a hot day forcing most of us to wear light colors but in the back of the crowd near the edge of the cobblestones stood a stranger dressed in black waving a black balloon.

He stood alone, tall and thin. His focus was on the Cathedral. A single black balloon waved back and forth in one hand. The balloon tied to a long stick, raised high above his head.

He wore a black shirt, his black pants looked thin and stopped near his ankles. I noticed black socks and black shoes. The only thing white were the shoelaces. He wore reflected sunglasses, his hair short and his gloves black like mine.


A mysterious connection

Unlike the boy in Vienna this one noticed me. Maybe I stood out from the crowd or maybe we were the only ones wearing black gloves. Whatever it was, I watched as his focus shifted from the Catedral to me.

He laid his black balloon to the ground, his face expressionless as he slowly walked towards me. I sat motionless but full of curiosity. Something told me he had no interest in conversation.

My normal talkative self lay silent as I extended my hand to his. He immediately accepted as our gloved hands clenched in a grip. 


A serious handshake

I was curious to see who would let go first as our grips clenched tighter and tighter. His grin widened and so did mine, my only regret was not seeing his eyes.

I gently loosened my grip. He immediately did the same. I was curious who would let go first.

As if on cue both of us slowly pulled our hands away. I kept my eyes on him as I nodded my head goodbye. 


A lone regret

He stood and watched as I wheeled away. Something told me his eyes stayed on me until I was out of view.

I never saw him again. Who was he? What was the meaning behind the black balloon? Why was he dressed in black? But most of all, what connection did he see in me?

My only regret was leaving. What would have happened had I stayed? What stories would I have heard had the stranger with the black balloon spoke? 

Black Balloon


28 thoughts on “The Stranger and the Black Balloon

  1. OMG, how could you not find out more?? That is just way too intense! I would want to know WHY he came over to you! How can you bear it, Bryan???

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Seriously? I wouldn’t be able to leave a situation like that!! The curiousity would destroy me!! LOL 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bryan, you could have dodged a serial killer! Okay that’s just a theory but why would he go shake your hand? Perhaps he saw you and thought, this dude can’t run from me. Or maybe he was curious at another tourist taking pictures. I think Cologne is such an interesting place, not that I’ve been there but Anthony Bourdain thought it was more interesting then Berlin. And from your encounter with the “Man with the Black Balloon” it sure seems like it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The part of Cologne that I was in was beautiful. I’ve never been to Berlin. That would be fun. Our tour guide lives there. The interesting about this man is that I could not get a read on him. He was really good at concealing who he was and what he was about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t. I like the way it ended. Who knows, maybe he was some boring guy doing nothing more than waving a balloon. That would have killed the mystery and sometimes a mystery is all we need. He stood out in the crowd that day and that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ooh, how mysterious and fascinating! While the cathedral is certainly impressive and a sight to be hold, I know that sharing a connection with another, no matter how brief is something that makes life wonderful.
    I’m sure we could both create a thousand stories for that man dressed in black. 🖤🎈

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love Cologne Cathedral! I know it’s not the most beautiful building in the world. But standing in front of it was a breathtaking experience. I found the architecture fascinating and couldn’t stop staring at it.

    Liked by 2 people

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