Visiting an elderly great aunt.
“You did that on purpose,” I said rudely.
“Did you say porpoise, dear?”
My solstice present, which I had brought along to show my mother’s aunt when we dropped by to visit, disappeared and reappeared on her shoulder and was replaced by one.
My mother saw me reddening and getting ready to scream, so she cleared her throat.
“I believe Bonny Brae wants her gift back,” my mother said gently.
Auntie’s eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, I thought it was for me! I never got gifts. But I always wanted one, ever since I was her age.”
I gaped at the pile of wrinkles and wispy hair. She looked a kajillion years old! I couldn’t imagine her ever being my age!
“Yes, my child, I was once your age, hard as it may be to imagine,” Auntie said, reading my mind.
“Why didn’t you ever get what you wanted?”
“My parents didn’t believe in Solstice gifts. They believed in celebrating, but not with presents.”
I crept onto the foot stool by her feet and looked up at her.
“How did you celebrate when you were my age?”
Auntie proceeded to tell me, with only a few rambles and tangents. I kept interrupting with questions, but she was very patient. Finally, my mother said:
“Time to go, Bonny. Kiss Auntie Witchery, get your gift back and we must be off.”
I looked at Auntie snuggling with my gift and made a decision.
“His name is Flick,” I said as I hugged my small aquatic creature gently.
Auntie grinned toothlessly as she stroked the pocket dragon that used to be mine.
“That little lady tells me her name is Bubbles,” Auntie said indicating the dolphin.
“How do…” I started to say until my mother pulled my away by an ear.