A couple of minutes later, I was back in my original seat as Mikey trundled back, the doll behind his back as he went to his mom. By then Ginny was in her seat, belted in and awake, though still looking pretty sleepy.
As Mikey approached, she shrank away, turning into her mom and whining some.
“Ginny, your brother has something to say.”
“Ginny,” Mikey said slowly, in the way that almost all kids apologize, “I’m sorry. That was mean, and I’m sorry, but I fixed your doll, I hope.” He presented the doll to her, and only slowly did she turn to look at him. When she saw the doll, she snatched it back, cuddling it close, but she didn’t say anything to Mikey.
Mikey’s mom, though, beamed at Mikey, nodding her head and patting his shoulder.
“Hey, Kid,” I said to him. “Nice work.” I held my hand over the aisle, and he gave me five.
“Is it really that simple, though?” Ellie asked.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. It should be. Apologies should be easier to give and to accept. I think we screw it up, but we don’t have to. In Mikey’s case, it was pretty easy to make the doll whole. I think as long as we try to make each other whole, it can be easy.”
“You seem to be full of philosophy on this flight. How is that?”
“I’m always full of philosophy. I get a lot of time to think to myself, except when I’m playing storyteller.”
“The fault is yours. Perhaps if you did not lead such an intriguing life, there would be little to tell.”
“I’m getting lectured on an interesting life by a centuries-old vampire?”
“Yes,” she smiled, “which should be all the evidence you need for how interesting your life is, at least to interested parties.”
I took out a piece of paper, rapidly penning a note to it.
“What is that?”
“My Christmas wish for next year, a less interesting life.”
“Perhaps you will get it. I think you have earned it, but I don’t think Nicholas will allow it with the gift you received this year.”
I thought about the Santa hat, stashed away on the top shelf in my closet, where, hopefully, I wouldn’t be bothered with it for almost a year.