Joyously, Henry hurled the object into the air, ignorant of wary onlookers. Though this celebratory dinner was meant to honor the contributions of professors such as himself, it remained an unspoken truth among the esteemed guests that Henry's intellectual acumen and psychological lucidity had long since his glory days faded. Nevertheless, Henry's invaluable contributions to the university remained ever-relevant to contemporary research, and his mind—what was left of his mind—was still worthy of recognition. Henry laughed at the balloon. It was so much rounder and so much kinder than the balloons he had previously been with. He wondered what the balloon thought of him, if it thought him to be as kind as he thought it. Robert, a once-young apprentice of the once-middle-aged Henry, looked at him, both pity and love trembling in his eyes. Robert respected the man, deeply. He didn't want Henry to be the laughingstock of the dinner. Robert contemplated taking away the balloon, which was now being passed among bewildered dinner participants. But who was he, an ordinary man, to take away from what little safety and joy Henry had in his life? He looked around nervously. His hand trembled as he put down his fork. "Professor Fuller, where is your wife? Did you drive here yourself?"

Key words: balloon, esteemed guest, joy, pity, space

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