Mamma turned and leveled a fierce scowl at her. “Just what is the meaning of all this?” she said. “Did you drop the mantel clock from the roof? Whatever for?”
“I…” started Verona, but she couldn’t think of anything to say. She stared at her shoes.
“Really Verona, I don’t know what’s gotten into you,” said Mamma. “You’re lucky you’ve only scared Pip. He might have been badly hurt, or worse!”
“I’m awfully sorry,” said Verona. “Really I am.”
“Apologize to him, not me,” said Mamma.
Pip had stopped sniffling, so Mamma lowered him back down to the deck. He dried his eyes with tiny fists, then wandered over to where the clock lay shattered. He inspected the gears and cogs and bits of metal, humming to himself. He gathered a few in his hands and dropped them over the side of the ship, watching them sink one by one into the deep. When the ripples died, he made silly faces at his reflection. Then he found his pinwheel and blew into it, and laughed happily when the colors spun around.
Verona sat next to her brother and sighed. “I’m sorry, Pip,” she said. “I’ve acted out like a mad albatross, haven’t I? Huffing and puffing about, making a perfect ruckus. And I haven’t brought back the wind or done any good at all. I’ve only managed to make everyone more miserable.” She wiped the indigenous rain-paint from her face. “What was it that Mamma said? ‘Sometimes the wind blows, sometimes it doesn’t.’”
She hugged Pip tightly. “I’m sorry again. I don’t know what’s come over me. I wish I could be like you. You’re usually quite happy, no matter what.” Pip looked up at Verona and gently patted her hand.
Verona closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then let it out. “I’m going to try it,” she said to Pip. “Here I am, I’m just like you. I’m not worried about a thing. La-dee-la! Who cares if the wind never comes back? I’ve got you and Mamma and everyone else. It’s nice and sunny, perfect weather to read a good book or have a swim. Perhaps I’ll draw in my journal, or write a song. Or maybe I’ll just sit up here all day long and do absolutely nothing at all!”
Verona laughed, loud and heartily. As she did, all her unhappy feelings slid away like dirt in the bath. She felt lighter, almost as though she could just sail up into the air and drift among the clouds. “I can’t even recall what I was so upset about to begin with,” she thought. “Haven’t I already got everything I need?”
She leaned back and spread out her arms, smiling. As she stared into the infinite blue sky, a tiny breeze floated across the water, no more than a sigh. It tickled Verona’s eyelashes and brushed along her fingertips. It felt like the first drop of rain after years in the dusty desert.
Verona’s heart swelled. She knew exactly what she needed to do.
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