“I hope an astronaut sees it” he interjected idealistically, seemingly unaware of her response. He had not looked away, his eyes locked to the horizon in expressionless admiration for the contraption. Tracing its loops and twirls, the boy followed the balloons until it disappeared seemingly instantly, its final destination an unresolved secret.

Taken aback, the girl now grinned in silence. They were her balloons, and in some small way, whatever happened to them was inextricably tied to her.

Softening, she told him “You know, at least we know other people will definitely see it – I mean it’s in the sky”

Glancing across at her brother’s sullen expression, she recalled the happier times when their mother had used their father’s helium machine to launch hundreds of balloons into the air. Their plan, one day, was to fly into space, and explore the planets above.

“I know Mum will see it, wherever she is” her soothing words washed across him, like a calm summer breeze.

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