What happens to a punctured balloon?

A transparent, matte, red balloon steadily expanded with warm breath. A balloon tied carefully with a twist and a knot, sealing the breath inside.

A punctured, red balloon. Punctured. Aggressively pierced with a silver needle. Not a gradual leak or a thinning of the latex, but a sharp, abrupt burst. No warning or exhortation.

The damage is done before one can blink an eye. A single moment, instantaneous. A moment that cannot be reversed. The once warm breath implodes, thrusting pressure against the thin, red walls. The delicate enclosing is compromised only by a microscopic tear.

Stretched bits of latex whiz away from each other. The carnage, now still, lay deflated and detached upon the floor. Upon examination, the edges look warped. The balloon is unrecognizable. It is empty, stretched, and damaged.

The inner particles escape and combine with the room’s air. Air is surrounding the balloon’s remnants on the floor, but it cannot be captured or seized. Though completely surrounded by the breath that once occupied the balloon, it cannot be replenished. The breath cannot again be captured. No matter the puffing or gasping or raging gusts of breath, the balloon will never return to the perfectly inflated curves.

No amount of tape or glue can repair the destruction. There will never be enough wishing or willing to undo the mutilation. There is so much air but no where to put it. Trying to huff and puff and blow, the breath only escapes back into the atmosphere.

The pieces of rubber and latex are picked up one by one. What is left of the balloon is tossed carelessly into the trash.

A punctured balloon is useless, it is damaged, it can never be whole again.

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