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I Inflate and Go Up
There once was a bright balloon named Red. Red was very thoughtful and polite, but not very happy, for Red was stuck to a string attached to a small girl of 5. Her name was Birthday Girl.
Red loved Birthday Girl very much. She would tie Red to her wrist and they would have apple juice tea with Teddy O’Beary or she would take Red to the park and they would swing on the swings. And while all that was certainly pleasant, it did not make Red happy.
See, Red had Big Dreams, and one of them was to go to Space. It started one afternoon while Birthday Girl was asleep; Telly Vee had shown Red images of white stars and multicolor planets, gold swirls and humans in rockets. “Space,” Telly Vee had said, and Red verily wanted to go there.
A few days later, while Birthday Girl was on the swings at the park, Red decided it was time to go or the chance would never come again. The knot connecting Red to Birthday Girl was loose, but Red needed a heavy push to come undone.
Red decided to ask the wind for help. “Will you blow so the knot will come apart and I can float away from here?”
“But you’re a balloon!” said Windy. “Balloons are meant to float in one place, not fly way.”
“I know that, all right, but I want to go to Space.”
“Well,” started Windy, “as you wish.”
So Windy blew until the knot loosened and Red began drifting up, up, up. Birthday Girl hopped off her swing, hands and tears reaching for Red, but she was too small.
“Goodbye, Birthday Girl!” cried Red. “I love you!”
Red drifted and for some time didn’t meet anyone until it came upon a lone butterfly. “What are you doing?” asked Miss Betty.
“I’m on my way to Space,” answered Red.
“Balloons aren’t meant to go to Space!” Miss Betty frowned. “Only humans and rockets and sometimes dogs on vacations.”
“It’s my dream to go to Space and I won’t let a little insect tell me what I can’t do,” said Red.
Miss Betty sighed, and began to flutter off. “Okay then. Good luck, I suppose.”
And so Red drifted up, up, up till it was leveled with the sun and its skin felt quite warm. Eventually Red met a trio of birds. They circled Red, cawing curiously.
“Are you lost?” questioned Co.
“I think you are!” beamed Ro.
“I am not lost! I’m going to Space,” explained Red. Confidence was still sitting in Red’s words as always.
“Ah, ah!” spat Oh. “Space is no place for a mere balloon. Even asteroids and comets don’t like Space. Why do you think they hit Earth all the time? Because they’re angry that’s why!”
Red turned away from the trio and continued to float upwards. “I do not care what you say, for I believe Space to be wonderful, and I won’t let a bunch of birds tell me otherwise.”
“Fine then,” mumbled Co, flying off.
“Happy traveling!” sang Ro.
“I bet the Milky Way is spoiled milk,” mused Oh, following the duo.
Some time later, Red was teetering upon clouds, which they didn’t enjoy, but alas they encouraged Red’s journey, for they knew the feeling of wanting to be up so high.
Red passed clouds and planes and even jets who peered at Red questionably. Red’s insides began to tighten and it thought it could hear small doses of air coming out from within.
But Red ignored it, for the sky was beginning to turn a deep blue and purple, and soon Red would reach Space. Red could see pearl-like stars and Moony, angry comets and Martians, and spinning planets with too many rings.
The joy Red got from the images, the happiness inflating it, were so great that Red wasn’t aware of what was happening to it.
“Here I go!” cried Red, and before Red could exit the atmosphere or realize the mistake, a soundless pop was made as Red burst into rubber pieces. Some landed on the clouds, on Co, Ro, and Oh, and even Miss Betty caught one.
Though the wind was aware of Red’s fate beforehand, Windy still felt quite sad, and so with a strong gush Windy picked up the pieces of Red and settled them into Space. Some of the pieces burned among the Galaxies, and the rest the Martians collected to make into jewelry, but they won’t ever tell anyone about that.