Flying to the Moon

Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a nice wombat hole in the ground with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

One morning Benson spilled his milk, and got toothpaste on his t-shirt and accidentally left his shoes where Aunt Lillibet tripped over them.

Aunt Lillibet shouted at him. “Benson, you’re so untidy! You could no more get yourself organised than fly to the moon.”

“I could too!” Benson shouted back. “I can be organised AND I can fly to the moon.”

He stomped into his room and sat there in the dark, feeling angry. Aunt Lillibet was mean, and she was wrong. He’d show her.

After a while he wasn’t so angry, and he started to think about flying to the moon. How could you get there anyway? It was extremely far away, and besides, you could only see the moon when it was dark. How could you find the way? And it kept moving around. Sometimes it was way up in the middle of the sky, and sometimes it was down close to the ground. And it was all different shapes. How could anyone ever get there?

He changed his t-shirt and thought some more. A rocket, maybe. Maybe a really fast plane, but you had to have a ticket and he didn’t have any money. He thought about wings, and decided that wasn’t a good idea. Wombats aren’t built for flying.

He tidied up his room a bit, then he went outside to dig for a while. Digging helped him think. It was freezing cold outside so he put on his jumper and a scarf.

His mother came out to see him. “I think you need to say sorry to Aunt Lillibet,” she said. It was so cold you could see her breath on the air when she spoke.

“She was mean to me,” Benson said.

“It doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t have shouted at her. Someone being mean to you is no reason for you being mean back.”

Benson nodded. “All right.” He could say sorry but he didn’t have to mean it.

He went inside to find Aunt Lillibet, and his mind kept thinking. What if just a part of him went to the moon? he thought.

Aunt Lillibet was in her bedroom. “I’m sorry for shouting at you,” Benson said. Aunt Lillibet was listening to some music, and he thought about that.

“You should try to be more organised,” Aunt Lillibet said. “Don’t leave your things everywhere. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t get yourself organised.”

“I can get anywhere I want to,” Benson said. “Even to the moon if I want to.”

He went into the kitchen and said to his mother, “I’m going to the moon.”

“Oh, yes?” said his mother. “Are you going to be an astronaut when you grow up?”

He thought about it. He thought about the moon and where it was in the sky, and what shape it was. “No, I’m going to fly to the moon tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” she laughed.

“Tomorrow, before dinner,” Benson said.

The next day, around dinner-time, Benson started putting his coat on, and his boots and his scarf.

“Are you going somewhere?” Aunt Lillibet said.

“I’m going to fly to the moon,” he said. “You can come and watch if you want to.”

Benson’s mother looked worried. She said, “You haven’t made any wings or anything, have you?”

“No, wombats aren’t really the right shape for flying, you know,” he said kindly.

They went outside. It was very cold. The moon was close down to the ground. It was enormous and round. “Watch me,” Benson said. He took a deep breath and huffed slowly. His breath came out in a soft white stream that floated away up towards the moon and disappeared.

“See?” he said. He took another breath, and let it float away to the moon.

“That’s just your breath,” Aunt Lillibet scoffed. “Anyone can do that.”

“Yes, anyone can,” said Benson’s mother. She took a deep breath and let it fly out, soft and white, to the moon.

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