Back in her original world…
It was a difficult and trying day in the office. As the inheritor of her father’s company, she had quite the amount of responsibilities. Often times, though, she would get frustrated and leave the building. She headed towards the market place and sat down at her favorite coffee shop. As she sat on the patio and watched the crowd pass, she slowly calmed down and saw the struggles of normal people.
They had to struggle to make money and purchase food. Some were trying to find jobs in order to get that money. Most of the people had grimacing faces and pained expressions when seeing prices of the food they needed.
However, a little child smiling gathered her attention. She looked around and saw several more kids happily smiling and laughing. Being young and ignorant was great, she thought. How she wanted to go back in time and be with her father. But, those times were gone.
Suddenly, someone sat down at the table in front of her. He was dressed in a colorful polo with khaki pants, but he carried around a little cart carrying balloons. He was an elderly man with a large white beard and a wide brimmed hat. The kids ran past and thanked him for the balloons while he just smiled and waved. As soon as they left, instead of changing his expression, it remained. His smile even widened as he soaked up the sun.
“Excuse me, but why are you happy?”
She couldn't help but want to know why he was happy.
“Hm? Oh, because I made them happy.”
“What about your own happiness?”
“I can easily get that with a book and some food. Speaking of which, waiter. Can I get a glass of water?”
The man gestured towards an employee who was outside.
“Waiter? Haha, I’m not a waiter. I am just taking out the trash. But sure, I will be right back.”
“Thank you very much.”
He looked like a feeble old man who was getting on in his years. However, he looked happy, just like the children.
“How did you make them happy?”
“I gave them my happiness.”
“Hehehe. Happiness is strange. I can give you as much happiness as you can take, but I can still be happy, too. It is rare, but there are those kinds of people.”
“What kind of people?”
“The ones who give. Children are smarter than you think. They run on instinct and can unconsciously feel negative moods. However, they love to receive things. They are the takers. They take the knowledge around them and work with it. The givers give, the receivers receive.”
“But…what do you receive?”
“That’s right. I don’t receive a definite thing from them. However, I can feel their gratitude, though they sometimes don’t say it. And that is what I look for.”
“Another way to say it would be a purpose. Because of the purpose of making children happy, I am fulfilling my purpose.”
“But…that won’t do anything in the long run.”
“Are you sure? What is a balloon?”
“A rubber…thing? Filled with air…right?”
“Yes. But that ‘thing’ part. A balloon cannot be explained so easily, huh? It is like trying to explain what a color is to a blind person.”
“I don’t think it is that bad.”
“Haha. So. What is this?”
He quickly twisted a balloon into a flower.
“Haha, I am merely proving a point. Yes, it is a balloon, but it is also a flower. Now watch.”
He undid the petals of the flower and it unfurled to become…
Then he squeezed the leaves and made…
“A butterfly. What is a balloon?”
“…It can be whatever you make it.”
“Yes, just like life.”
She looked up with a startled expression. Sure, she had heard the phrase, ‘life is what you make it,’ but it never really registered with her before. There were all sorts of phrases and tales that had morals, but most were either outdated or too confusing. But now, with such an explanation, it felt like pieces were slowly coming together in her head.
“Here. Take it. I hope you make something amazing with it someday.”
“Yes…I should make my life amazing.”
“Hoh? Have you figured something out from my rambling? Well then, live well, young one.”
The old man continued to come to the market every Saturday, so she would often take time off to visit. However, one day, he wasn’t there. She asked around and eventually found his address, but it was a home for the elderly. When she inquired about his whereabouts, he had passed away.
She visited his funeral and cried. She hadn’t cried ever since her father died, so this was a complete shock to her. She used this feeling to promote her company forward and help the nation. But, on her way to his grave for an anniversary a year later, the plane she was on crashed over the ocean.
She didn’t make it out.
Abigail woke up softly, but she was shaking. She looked around and saw her beastkin roommate who happened to be a bug girl, and went back to sleep. However, her flames kept acting up so she left her room to go use the smithy.
Back in her original world…
Life was hard. Especially for a lesbian woman at the time. Her family always felt awkward and her dad often blew up into a rage. So, she ran away. She lived her life on the streets fighting for her life. Often times, she would even have to fight in the literal sense.
She wasn’t that pretty. She wasn’t that attractive. However, she was strong. She used that to get what she wanted. However, one day, she was in a city she had never been in before. She saw a young man handing out balloons to children. The parents of those kids would give him a couple dollars and he would stuff it into his pockets without even looking at how much it was.
Thus, she decided she would rob him.
“Give me your money.”
In this situation, that sort of question could pop up, but when a metal pipe is being held high in the air above the person who was knocked down, normally, the tone used would be one filled with fear or anger.
So why did he not seem to be either? He looked at her in true curiosity.
“I need it.”
“What kind of food?”
“Burgers aren’t good for you. You should eat some vegetables, too.”
“Fine, then I will eat some vegetables as well.”
“And? Is there anything else you need money for?”
“Clean drinking water.”
“Ah, I know what you mean. I live here and I won’t drink from the faucet! Haha!”
He was laughing in such a situation?! How could a guy be so composed?!
“I also need new clothes.”
“Right? Winter is coming…brace yourself. Ah, I guess you don’t watch television, huh.”
“What do you mean? Of course I don’t.”
“Want to watch some Game of Thrones? I have some food and some old clothes I don’t need. Why commit robbery when you can get it for free?”
It was at this time that her stomach growled.
“Don’t get any ideas. I don’t like guys.”
“Haha! Then we have something in common!”
His attitude threw her off, but she hesitantly followed him. She expected something twisted or perverted from a guy who twisted balloons for kids, but his apartment was clean and filled with all sorts of entertainment such as books, movies, and games. She looked around in wonder as she had never seen these things.
It was part of a culture she would have never seen at home, either, so this was refreshing. The man came back with some peanut butter, bread, and jelly. He even grabbed some crackers. He put in a movie and the two watched television. That night, he went to bed in his room, while she stayed up all night watching what he had.
The next morning, she woke up to find a letter on the door.
“If you leave, make sure to lock the door using the key under the floor mat. Oh, and put it back once you’re done. Help yourself to what’s in the fridge.”
For some reason, she could only stare in wonder at the letter left by the man who just left a stranger in his home. She walked around and ended up using the shower. She found the box of old clothes and put on something warm and baggy.
Then, she got some food and went back to watching tv.
Eventually, she ended up twisting balloons as well. She learned from him and could go off on her own to make money. It was on one of these excursions where she met her future wife. They clicked and saw each other more often. She moved out of the man’s house and into her lover’s place and lived a happy life twisting balloons until she died because of the war. It was a nice and fulfilled life.
Bailey awoke and looked around. She saw Ilya resting comfortably so she returned back to sleep and calmed herself with memories of her past.