Tanya came up to the window and threw a glance she thought to be the last one over the yard that had been almost her dear home for two months now.

It’s time to make up my mind, she thought. Otherwise I will keep on torturing him and myself.

How come some nasty kink sits like a thorn in the flesh, plaguing life out? Why can I not accept what I have for granted? What a wacky rush to search for the perfect?..

In her thoughts, she checked herself sharply. Yes. It’s your decision and you will have to make it on time before he comes back from work. Things will never pack themselves. Good for me that Natasha agreed to host me until I get my salary.

She came over to the closet, tears emerging in her eyes, slammed open the doors and embarked on unloading her things carefully stacked after washing and ironing.

As she put together a heap of rags on the floor, she banged the door shut, shedding her excruciating pain in a fit of temper. The blow drove down a bundle of balloons which her boyfriend … not hers anymore… she corrected herself right away… once tossed out of sight.

The latex toys spread out in a colourful carpet on the floor. As she collected the balloons which she had thought took her man away, what came to her notice was a picture printed on their side.

The picture portrayed a girl sitting on a balloon and inflating another with the inscription “Blow me to pop”. Below was the website.

With all business to mind out of head, Tanya sat down at her laptop and typed the letters in the address bar. The almighty google said the address was improper and offered scores of various websites with a similar combination of letters. The girl was keen to find out that there was a Russian-speaking forum and logged on to the right link which brought her to a screen showing ladies varying in scanty cladness and balloons coming in all sizes and colours.

For some reason, she didn’t find it vulgar or cheesy, and Tanya went on to the videos. The blow-and-pop effort was wasted on her but the way the girls teased each other with balloons looked rather regular until it had gone outright nude.

With a slight wince on her face, since she was a straight-out heterosexual, Tanya continued watching and suddenly fancied a balloon in the form of a helpless man. 

That may be fun, her underself whispered, and the girl twisted her head to throw kinky thoughts out of her mind.

She clicked back to the search machine and changed to the forum, surprised at the small number of sections. She guessed she would need registration and thought up a username and password to find out she was right. As she began reading from About all, she figured out that the forum brought together people of many devotions and interests. 

All of a sudden, she spotted a list of users at the bottom and was surprised to recognize her boyfriend’s nickname whom she was now about to abandon before the world web dragged her in.

As she viewed the profile, the sheer number of his messages came as a surprise. Well, well, well. I wonder what’s in there.

The list of topics he covered was not too big. Perhaps, he’s rather after debating. However, what she didn’t expect was several topics he authored. Those were stories.

Damn it! Is there anything I don’t know about him? She thought it over and started reading. Like she expected, the stories dwelt on the balloons. Yeah, what else were you going to get at a thematic forum, her underself sneered. More importantly, those were stories about people. About feelings. And about how important it is to be able to find sincere words to express feelings. And how often you don’t pull it off … or the timeline is bad.

Damn those balloons. She gave it some thought again. Why are they in the way between us? Why can’t he be not a fetishist?…

As far back as they started their relationship, he confessed his «devotions». She laughed and said it didn’t matter. What makes a difference is feelings… but she failed to accept balloons in their bed. Insane jealousy. Misunderstanding how those chunks of rubber can attract and replace flesh and blood. His gifts, bouquets of massive balloons like a red rag to a bull attacked by all passers-by they met along the way, playful games, attempts to tease her. Numbingly point-blank reluctance to understand. Midnight conversations. His awkward explanations. Jealousy again and a wave of hatred towards fetish. His concealed grudge. Frenzy, demolished bouquets of balloons and loosely hanging dust catchers. What’s the point of sharing his consideration and his feelings?… Her fear to lose and the final decision not to torture him and not to torture herself … and eventually this stupid forum …

The stories grew on her. For an odd reason, the accidental companion syndrome provides a pretty enabling environment, after all. Tanya continued reading and getting to know her man from another angle. Like a stranger who pours his heart out to a fellow traveller. She saw him the way she had never attempted at. In one of the topics she took note of the cross link where her boyfriend … Yours again? Her underself failed to subside… gave a grilling to a forum guest who would complain that his girl did not understand his plays with the balloons … in the attempt to explain that fetish should be attached to a relationship if both don’t mind, but not vice versa …

As she looked back at the three months of their togetherness, Tanya discerned details which had been concealed by the bitterness. Sasha would never impose his fancies. He would say it but in a somewhat detached manner. He proposed they should give it a try. He played along and teased, but never demanded or made conditions. Damn it… why couldn’t I see it all indeed… why do you have to grab yourself by the scruff of the neck to open the eyes?

And those stories. Electrifying, romantic… and pretty arousing at the same time. The balloons are just extras… the means rather than the goal… Page after page. Forum. Websites. Outright porn. “Good for us we are not this way”, the bewildered underself whispers. There’s a sudden thought.

Search by the keywords. A folder on the hard drive, not stashed away. No secrets from each other. A selection of erotic files. Folder properties. Latest changes – three months ago… Guilty thoughts…

The arm, at its own discretion, would bring an adorned balloon to the lips. There came an exhalation. Air pushed in, reluctant to go through tight latex. Quick hissing came from a slightly loose mouthpiece. Breath in. Breath out. Once more and more. A scarcely-clad girl is sensually stapling down her balloons on the screen… 

A key creaks in the lock.

- Tanya, are you home?

A twitching motion and the nail rips into an inflated balloon which emerged there all of a sudden. Bang. A wave of air sends her naughty fringe up. There’s a stampede of running legs.

- Tanya? A mute question in his eyes.

The captions are off the screen. The arm holding the mouthpiece remains loosely drops down. The tears are relentless. A lump is building up in the throat, sliding downhill as a snowflake which was never there.

Those nearest and dearest hands are clutching the shoulders. A sob breaks out in the vocal silence of the moment. The palms are clenching the man’s hands. A scrap of latex is whirling and twirling down from the unclasped fingers to the floor like in slow-motion footage…

- Sasha… darling… forgive me… I wish I wouldn’t be this stupid again …