The charity of befriending Brian made Brenda a greater target.
Brian was short for his age, had red hair, freckles and wore spectacles. But Brenda empathised. Besides, he was a genius at Maths, reason enough to take that friendship risk and sit beside him.
Brian had lived all over the place because his father was in aviation. His accent was slightly American which made the teasing easier.
'Whur’s yur liddle boyfriend todayee Brender?'
The classroom smelled of hot stove, damp pupil, old wooden desks and linseed from the Plasticene used for modelling.
Brian had made a white model of a torodial space station that looked like a wheel. He stood at the front, small looking; singular. Mrs. Johnson presided, glowering at the audience. Brian held up his favourite book for everyone to see. “‘The Complete Book of Space Travel’ is brand a new American book. Published September 1956, see?”
Brian continued with quiet passion, about how one day he’d be a space pilot living inside a huge, revolving, fibre glass wheel far above the Earth. He lifted his model aloft. He’d do experiments in laboratories at one third G and study cosmic phenomena, just like Wernher von Braun had said. “And one day, men will go all the way to moon and Mars and travel to the stars,” he said.
The faded wall posters faded further. The map of The Empire diminished. This small voice opened up vast expanses of being, and Brenda fell in love – with space.