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The girl watched as her little red balloon drifted away towards the sun. She hadn’t meant to let it go but her fingers had failed to grasp the string as it slid from her tiny palm. Her hands clenched and she shut her eyes until she could no longer hold back the tears. When she opened her beautiful tiny emerald eyes warm tears glided down her bright red cheeks, like shimmering diamonds. Her mother asked her what was wrong and the girl replied: “My balloon has floated away.” The girl’s mother hugged her tight and suggested she get a new one. But her mother didn’t understand. She wanted her balloon, the one wandering towards the ever-inviting glowing sun. She wanted her little red balloon and swore to the sun that it could not have it. Eventually the balloon disappeared into the blue sky, and although she was only six, she had never known a greater loss in her life.

The girl looked into her mirror, smiling at her new ruby necklace. It was her sixteenth birthday and her parents had given her the necklace because it was her favourite colour. Deep ruby red. It was shaped like a shimmering tear drop. She loved the semblance of it, appearing as though if you held it too long it would melt in your hands as everything that touched its fiery red. The girl’s thoughts were interrupted when someone knocked on her bedroom door. It was her best friend of ten years. They simply smiled at each other and the girl pointed to her necklace. Her friend gaped in awe at the marvelous piece. They shared laughs and memories of old times until a sorrowed expression crossed her friends’ face. The girl asked what was troubling her and her friend gazed at her with tears streaming down her face. “I’m moving far away,” she said. And just like when the sun swallowed up her little red balloon, the stinging feeling returned to her emerald eyes. Their laughs turned into cries, their memories to talk of the future. When it finally came time for her friend to leave, the girl gave her one final hug. Her friend stepped into her car and drove off. As the car sped down the street she swore she saw a red balloon tied to the trunk. Her best friend was gone and same as she did when she was six she swore that a distant sun could not have her.

Twenty years later the girl sat in an armchair, peeking out over the windowsill. Her husband of seven years sat beside her, gently rubbing her back. The sickening smell of antiseptic roamed about the room, not caring that it was bothering her. The blindingly bright lights of the hospital room we unsettling, as well. Her husband and she sat silently although they both knew what hung in the air and it wasn’t just the disinfectant. The girl toyed with her ruby necklace that hung around her neck. It no longer represented a glorious shimmering tear drop. It now only reminded her of deep red horrifying blood drops. And there was so much blood. Once again the burning warning of tears came. Her husband wrapped his arms around her distended stomach and carefully soothed it. It was her fault, she had done it. She had lost their baby. Only seconds after her first breath had she drawn her last. Her husband told her that the Lord had taken their baby for good reason but she couldn’t believe that, no matter how much she wanted to. If that were true, though, the girl could not agree with the Lord in that moment. He had taken their baby, her Ruby, and in that moment she could not forgive him. She cried for Ruby and swore that the Lord could not take her. She knew that this would always be her biggest loss.

Now but an old women, the girl laid weightlessly in her bed. Her ruby necklace still hugged her neck as it had for so many years. She knew her time was coming soon. Her age was but a number now, counting down to her final breaths. Her son sat next to her, grasping her hand ever so slightly. After her dear Ruby left the girl had found strength to try again and in that came her wonderful son. He was now the only one of her family left since the Lord had decided to take her husband few years ago. She accepted his passing seeing as it had been his time. And now it was hers. The girl laid her head gently on her pillow and shut her eyes. She felt her heartbeat slow and her son noticed on the rate monitor. Then the doctor entered the room, knowing that it was time. He asked her son if he was ready to let his dying mother go. He turned to her, “Mom, please don’t go.” The girl opened her eyes for the last time. “It will be okay,” she said and nodded at the doctor. Reluctantly her son finally agreed. And with that the doctor unplugged her life support. She drew in her last breath of sweet air and closed her emerald eyes. The girl was now free to be with her husband, with Ruby, and with her long lost friend. But when she closed her eyes she did not see a white light. Instead she saw her little red balloon; and she chased it. She told the sun and the Lord that they could now have her. She was finished with her life. Now her only thought was to chase after her balloon and catch it before its deep red escaped her again.



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