From afar, I saw balloons tied to nearby picnic tables gently swaying while T & I hiked around Lake Temescal last Saturday. I walked over and asked the woman sitting there if I could take pictures.

"Of course, go ahead!" she cheerfully replied.

I fired a few frames and struggled with my composition. "Whose birthday is it?" I asked, trying to buy more time so I could find the right angles.

"Oh, it's my daughter's...she's turning 18 today." I pressed the shutter a couple of times, still couldn't quite get what I wanted. "It's actually a surprise..." she continued. "I thought about it on Thursday and wasn't sure if I could pull it off. This spot is not reserved so I had to be here when the park opened at 8 am." 

I pulled my camera down from my face and turned to her. "Oh, you did a wonderful job! I love the colors you picked for the balloons."

She smiled. "Thank you! These are actually the colors of my daughter's bedroom. She's going off to college this fall."

Then her phone rang and she picked up the call. I turned around and continued to photograph. Once I was satisfied with my images, I waited until she finished.

"Thank you again for letting me take some pictures. My name is Stella, by the way." I held my hand and she shook it. "My name is Deborah."

"Nice to meet you." I smiled.

Then I walked towards the edge of the lake where T waited for me.

©Stella Kalaw

©Stella Kalaw