When I was about 8 or 9 (early 70s) I seemingly out of nowhere began to suffer from severe headaches and hallucinations. I remember being taken to Dr. Wilcox ( a gruff old bugger typical of GPs of the time) whose best guess was migraines (keeping in mind that it's all a bit hazy for me now). What he could not explain was the hallucinations. I would spend night after night terrified, screaming and crying.
One of the things that terrified me was the feeling (hallucination) of being tiny in an incredibly huge warehouse/train station. I wan't tiny in a normal warehouse; I was normal size in an incredibly oversized space and the feeling was literally overwhelming.
At some point the hallucinations stopped. I don't remember when or why, and the headaches stopped too. Occasionally, in adulthood, I had both those feelings but they were less terrifying and more intriguing. I wondered why I would every now and then feel those sensations. Interestingly, those sensations were easily recreated in a series of relaxation therapies I underwent in 1992-3 and I began to understand a little more the associations and even the origins of those, that were once, terrifying sensations.
In the mid 90s I had and OMG moment. I heard the lyrics of some music I had been listening to for nearly 20 years. Pink Floyd's The Wall was one of the first albums I bought with my own money (1980) and it quickly became one of my all time favourites. Nothing to do with the lyrics I discovered later, but I did think it a strange coincidence.
When I was a child
I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain
You would not understand
A friend of mine (late 90s), a psychology student, suggested the swollen hands thing was actually quite a common phenomenon. But at the time, and even now (after only cursory research) I can't find reference specifically to the imaginary feeling of swollen hands.
Even later on, the two balloons motif took on new meaning after reading Richard Bach's The Bridge Across Forever, a touching story about cosmology and soulmates.
Now, I'm torn. When I see two balloons (quite frequently actually) anywhere I think of both my associations - the Floyd reminder of my childhood terrors, and Bach's representation of soulmates rising up together like two balloons.
Yesterday I was wandering down town, as I'm wont to do, and I saw these. They were meandering along in a soft breeze. I kinda followed them for a while, wondering where they were going, what they were thinking, feeling. What was their raison d'etre?
I walked slowly along the street, looking over my shoulder. There they were. They crept towards the road. Then. Disappeared. They didn't emerge from between the cars. I crossed the road, waiting for them to show themselves. They couldn't have disappeared. I'd have heard them pop.
But I couldn't see them. So I walked slowly back along the street, looking for them to float out on the breeze. But they were indeed gone, it seemed.
I didn't think balloons had magical powers, but my previous associations with them has left the door open to any possibility. Maybe I dreamed they were there. But I had proof in my hand - my camera. They were real.
And nestled, Comfortably Numb under a car. I didn't want to think about the implications of that.