His niece turned to her teddy bear. A notebook opened upon her lap.
She had been scribbling along pretending she knew how to write more than three and four letter words.
"Mister Spuds, have you heard where Uncle is off to now?" she said. Behind her, through the open window, a rain misted over the city. Her father had taken her along with him to pick up some things his brother, her uncle, had left behind. She had climbed up behind her uncle's desk. She had joined him here so often to hear his stories of far off places. Maps lined one wall, photos pinned above cities, lines drawn over oceans, names of people her uncle would be sure never to forget.
"He has gone back to meet with Istan the Bull. He says they need to talk over tea and smoke. That the world will stop for no men and his Istan's time might be running out. He said his old friend is sick." Maisy smiled and patted the bear on the head.
Maisy sometimes confused the places and people in her uncle's stories, naming people after places. Istan was a man in Istanbul that she could not pronounce the name of.
"No Mister Spuds, I do not think he will get well for quite some time. Not if uncle has rushed off so fast."
"Who are you talking to in there little girl?" Her other Uncle Robbie asked from the kitchen.
"Just Mister Spuds, have you heard from Uncle Knob yet?"
"Not quite, it is a long flight to Istanbul."
"See Mister Spuds, it must be important. Like the time Uncle went to Phillip Pines with Robbie to meet family. They left without telling anyone, we were supposed to meet them that day. Daddy tells me Uncle Knob used to have many adventures, now he likes to stay close if he can."
Uncle Robbie walked in the room with a small box wrapped in pink paper with a purple ribbon around it.
"Knob left this for you cause he knew he was supposed to read you a story today."
Maisy placed her notebook down, walked over to him, took the box and went back to her place. She unwrapped the gift.
Within was a brand new notebook that had "Maisy's Adventure" inscribed on the front of it. She fell in love, clutching the book to her chest tightly.
"Look Mister Spuds, my own book. I am going to fill it up with our adventures. Carter can join us, you and him, and me...and Uncle Knob."
There was a knock on the door. Maisy jumped up rushing over, as her father and Uncle Robbie came to join her.
Uncle Robbie undid the chain and flipped the lock. The door swung open and a man stood there in black dress pants, a white dress shirt, hand tied bowtie and, a bright orange trench coat.
"What happened?" Uncle Robbie asked.
"I got a call, I should have gone out sooner. At least I get to get cheered up by this little monster." He frowned a bit, the pain was on his face for a moment. It was clear he was dealing with something heavy. Uncle Knob picked Maisy up and pulled her into the air. He flew her around the apartment and as he did his sorrow, if briefly, washed away.