..He falls in step besides me and rattles off about something else, his apparent surprise quickly forgotten. I tune him out but make the effort to smile down at him and I nod my agreement every so often while we walk. Let him do what he think he must. Let him plot and plan to his heart’s content. The airship passage alone is worth suffering through it a while longer. And yet I am relieved when the airship’s sails appear before us.

"By the way," he says, almost as an after thought, as we step onto the docking platform. "I like what you've done with your hair." I smile, genuinely this time "Thank you." I respond, and my next words carry more meaning than he could ever hope to understand.

"I felt that it was time for a change."