"Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon," he asked?
He was flirting with me. I could tell. But I didn't mind. He was handsome, tall and had dark hair. Totally my type! I smiled at him as I shyly looked away. I knew his kind. He was only looking for business. I saw him in the corner of my eye looking at his next "customer." He looked at her and said, "Would you like to glide in my beautiful balloon?" Her eye followed his arm as it glided to the sky. She giggled to her friend and the two of them walked to the next balloon.
It was the first day of the yearly international balloon festival of our town. We wait all year for it to be here, and there were over 50 balloons of all shapes and colors to look at. It was the most beautiful festival of all the years that I could remember. The air was full of sounds. People chatted, there were singers and dancers, and there was food galore. The sound of the engines powering the balloons was loudest of all. I clicked my camera over and over, trying to capture every little detail. I took lots of videos too. Abbe, my sister, walked by my side. She knew I would get lost in the crowd if she didn't watch were I was going. I DO get in my own world when I've got the camera to my eye.
She was in awe just as much as me. Our eyes were fixed on the sky checking out all the colorful balloons. My neck ached but I didn't care. Abbe had a camera too and every now and then we exchanged glances at each other's camera screens to see who had the best pictures. She didn't take as many as me. I was the shutterbug of the family.
Abbe looked at me and asked out of the blue... "Let's rent a balloon to ride. We could flow among the stars together you and I. It will be like we are birds soaring and gliding. It will be fun. Besides we'll get better pictures up there too. We could see the whole festival. What do you say?" She looked so excited. I didn't have the heart to tell her no. I am scared of heights... she knows that. But I felt adventurous that day. So she didn't have to ask twice. I nodded a "yes" and we raised our heads high to pick a balloon.
"Which balloon shall we try," I asked? "Let's find a red one? It will look great for pictures." "Ok," she nodded and we looked around the festival for our carriage. There were so many to choose from. I spotted the one I wanted in the distance. It was very colorful with red, orange, yellow and white squares on it with giant black arrows. "Can't get lost in that balloon," I thought. "We'll be seen for miles." I pointed the balloon to Abbe and she agreed. We made our way to the balloon and saw that there was no one in line waiting to ride. To my surprise it was owned by the man who had asked us to ride earlier. I hadn't noticed his balloon before. My heart was pounding as he told me and Abbe he could take us up... right away.
He took my credit card information and helped Abbe into the basket of the balloon. My whole body shook as he helped me climb the steps into the gondola. It looked like a sturdy basket. There were all sorts of tanks, hoses and pipes inside. There was even a tiny refrigerator in one corner. "Nothing to sit on so I suppose we are to stand the whole trip," I thought. He gave us a few commands and soon we were about to lift off. He saw I was nervous and whispered to me, "Don't worry my balloon is safe, we can fly." "Up, up and away," I muttered and he dropped the last sandbag and we were off into the sky.
"You are safe in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon," he assured us as we relaxed and remembered our cameras. It took me a while to not be afraid of the height. I let Abbe take the pictures looking straight down... ughhh... I didn't want to make myself sick. I DID feel like a bird!
We rose slowly at first then gained more height as we lifted over the other balloons. We paid for a half hour flight. Just enough to grab some great pictures. Abbe was interested in all the balloons, where as I was more interested in the pilot, Nick. We chatted the whole half hour and I made sure I even got a few pictures in my camera. It didn't matter... Abbe and I always shared our pictures anyway. She took one of me and Nick, and he took a few of us two girls. He made us promise to send him copies and gave us his e-mail address after he landed the balloon. We were safe on the ground and I breathed a sigh of relief.