Balloon Man

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Chapter 3

New Orleans, Louisiana 1986

Giselle was sent to live with Mr. Paul DeValle. He felt responsible for Giselle, for it was he who had suggested to Franc to bring his family on the trip. He was well aware of how Franc and Jeanne lovingly doted on their daughter. Jeanne had been unable to bear children, and the adoption of Giselle was the happiest moment of Jeanne’s life. Giselle was a most pleasant baby, and had grown into a lovely child with auburn hair whose waves glinted with every color of amber as if on fire.

Paul did his best to replace what Giselle had lost when her parents died. He was a generous, kind man who had never married or had children. Giselle filled a void in his life. He took her to back and forth to Paris when he worked there and her French became outstanding. Giselle liked to sing so Paul added singing lessons to her schedule.

Giselle could not be happier. Everything in the world she thrived on was in her life. Paul even made sure Giselle visited the graves of her parents in France.

One morning while Paul and Giselle were back in New Orleans, they took a walk to the park. Paul grabbed his chest and cried out with pain. He sat down and fell over onto the bench. Giselle giggled, thinking he was playing. It was not until she reached over and took his hand to pull him up that she understood it wasn’t a game. She felt his curled, stiff fingers and his face had turned ashen.

She began shrieking loudly, “Mr. Paul, wake up! Wake up!” attracting a young couple who called the police.

But it was too late.

Paul DeValle died of a heart attack.

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