With all the cold and snow around me, I figured a good remedy was to dream about summer and, in doing so, water balloon fights popped into my head for the first time in years. For anyone who hasn’t actually been in one of these battles, the concept is fairly simple. You fill up a bunch of brightly colored ballons with water instead of air until you have a bucketful of weaponery and then start gleefully throwing them at whoever is unlucky enough to move the slowest. If you’re that guy, as I often was, you’ll get hit with an explosion of water, that will make you look either freshly showered or as though you’ve just wet yourself. The latter was entirely possible in reality as this game could be scary. On a hot summer day, though, it was one of the best ways for my friends and I to cool off as none off us were wealthy enough to own an actual pool.
When we were in the middle of a water balloon battle, the thing I remember most was learning that my body was far more limber than I thought. A balloon would be sailing in my direction in what felt like slow motion and I could just miss it by bending at a ridiculous angle, causing it to sail past and plaster the side of a car instead. I think we made up various rules, but I can’t remember any of them now. All I can remember was running around the yard screaming and trying to hide behind trees, on the verge of passing out from the overwhelming adrenaline rush. It was kind of amazing. It’s one of the simplest little games to put together, but as long as you had enough balloons, you could get a couple of hours of entertainment to pass the day.
Once the last balloon exploded, it was always a melancholy moment. Looking around the yard, it was a graveyard of multicolored bits of wet rubber, and everyone was red-faced and panting, looking as though they had just been beaten with wet, muddy towels. We’d all sort of wander over to some chairs and sit while letting the sun do its job of drying us off so we were allowed to enter the house again. But I can also still remember that feeling of quiet bliss. Enjoying the peace after a long battle of colorful missles filling through the sky. Just happily drying under the midday sun, enjoying the feeling of being completely exhausted and totally relaxed. I’m not sure I’ve ever quite captured that feeling again as an adult. Perhaps, just sititng still long enough to let the childhood memories come back to me is close enough. Enjoying silly summer days filled with laughter, screams, and those thoroughly soaked moments spent in those incredible water balloon fights.