“But that’s my black horse!” Eight-year-old Timmy tried to take the LEGO figure from his older brother’s hands. “Mom got it for my birthday last year!”

Eleven-year-old Chris wrenched the pieces away. “Get off, Timmy! It’s my piece.”

The brothers had been working on their LEGO town for the past two weeks, and this wasn’t the first fight they’d had. This time, the object of contention was a black horse. Chris had been using it in his cowboy model before Timmy saw it.

“But it’s not yours! It’s mine!” Timmy insisted, his voice rising with frustration. Angry tears welled up in his eyes. “Why don’t you believe me? Why don’t you ever believe me?”

The only answer Chris gave was an angry sigh as he dropped the horse and stood. “You know what, take your stupid horse. You can play by yourself—I don’t need this drama.” He threw up his arms and stormed out of the playroom.

“Yeah, you walk away!” Frustrated, Timmy huffed as he sat in the sea of plastic bricks. Why did Chris have to be like that? It seemed they argued about everything lately. In fact, Timmy couldn’t remember the last time they had agreed about something—a fact their parents constantly reminded them of.

“Why can’t you two get along?” they would ask. “Do you like being angry? Do you like to argue all the time?”

Timmy didn’t like arguing all the time, but it wasn’t his fault, really. It was Chris’s fault—he just couldn’t admit when he was wrong. If only he would let Timmy be right just once—things would be much different. “Why does Chris always have to be right?” he grumbled.

Forcing back the tears, Timmy turned his attention back to building his town. He tried to concentrate on building his model police car but couldn’t. Playing with LEGOs was no longer fun for some reason. The stupid argument had ruined everything. Chris had ruined everything.

“Are you okay?”

Timmy looked up and saw Mom standing at the doorway. There was a concerned expression on her face.

Timmy shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so.”

Mom raised her eyebrows. “Are you sure? I just saw your brother a minute ago. He was pretty upset.”

Timmy sighed. He couldn’t get anything past Mom. “Well, we were playing with LEGOs, and he had my black horse. But he said it was his!” He snapped another brick onto his car and growled, his voice rising with his frustration. “I told him it was mine, but he wouldn’t listen to me!”

Mom came in—carefully avoiding the plastic land mines of death—and sat down next to him. Her tone was sympathetic as she spoke. “Are you sure it was yours? I think we got Chris a cowboy set for his birthday too. Didn’t it come with some black horses?”

Timmy nodded. “But it was my black horse he was playing with.”

Mom looked at the LEGO piles and chuckled. “You’re sure? I don’t see how you can tell what belongs to whom in this mess.”

“I know it’s my horse, Mom. I absolutely, positively know it was mine.”

“Okay, I’ll take your word for it.” She put an arm on Timmy’s shoulder. “But still, was it worth picking a fight with your brother? It’s only a toy.”

Only a toy? How could Mom not understand? Timmy clenched his fists. “But it was my toy!”

“Chris didn’t know that, Timmy,” Mom said gently.

“I told him it was mine, and he wouldn’t listen!” The tears came back. Timmy couldn’t believe Mom was defending Chris. “Mom, it happens all the time now. Chris never listens to me. He never believes that I’m right. He thinks I’m wrong about everything.”

A tear streamed down his cheek, followed by a second and a third. Timmy buried his face in his mother’s shoulder and cried quietly. He felt her put her arms around him, pulling him into a hug. But she said nothing.

“Why won’t Chris ever let me be right?” Timmy sobbed. “Couldn’t he let me be right just once?”

Mom rubbed his shoulders and held him close, her tender eyes meeting his. “Timmy, sometimes you must accept that people won’t believe you, even though you’re right. Most children don’t want to play with someone who must always be right, no matter what.”

“But I was right,” Timmy whimpered. “I was.”

He expected Mom to scold him, remind him that arguing ruins friendships, and say that his friendship with Chris was more important than any toy in the world. But that wasn’t what she did. She only smiled.

“You know, Timmy,” she said at last, “this reminds me of something that happened to me when I was not much older than you. I had an argument like this too.”

Timmy perked up a little. He loved hearing Mom’s stories. “Weren’t you an only child?” he asked.

Mom nodded. “Yes, but I did have a best friend. Her name was Hannah, and she lived just across the street from my house when my family moved to her neighborhood. We did everything together that summer. In fact, we were so close then that people thought we were sisters.”

She paused for a moment, then continued. “Yes, we did everything together, but we loved to play with our Barbie dolls most of all. We would go to each other’s houses with our dolls and spend the day playing together. And we liked to collect them too, just like you and Chris like to collect LEGOs.

“That year, my parents gave me a brand-new Barbie doll for Christmas. It was a fashion model doll—the most beautiful I’d ever seen. I loved that doll more than any other, and I took her everywhere I went. I even took her to Hannah’s house. Then one Saturday, four weeks after Christmas, I was going over to Hannah’s to play. I was gathering my dolls when I realized that my brand-new doll was missing.”

Timmy craned his neck, leaning closer in anticipation.

“You can imagine how upset I was. I searched all over my room for her but couldn’t find her anywhere. So I went to Hannah’s, which was the last place I remembered seeing her. Hannah let me in, and I saw what was in her arms—my beautiful, precious doll.”

“What happened?” Timmy asked.

“I was furious. I accused Hannah of taking my doll, but she insisted that it wasn’t mine. She told me her grandparents had mailed it to her as a late Christmas present. But of course I just knew she was lying. I just knew that this was my doll she was holding, and I was going to get her back somehow.”

Mom sighed. “It was terrible, Timmy—like our friendship no longer meant anything. I called Hannah a thief and liar. She denied stealing my doll and accused me of trying to take hers for myself. It was a short fight, but that was all it took. I stormed off in a huff, determined to tell my parents what Hannah had done, to get justice.”

Timmy squeezed his mother’s hand. “But you did get your doll back?”

She nodded sadly. “Yes, I did. She was waiting in our kitchen, where I had left her the night before.”

Timmy’s eyes widened in disbelief. “What? But—but that would mean . . .”

Mom nodded her head. “It meant Hannah had told the truth. I had ended our friendship over a misunderstanding.”

There was a pause as Timmy pursed his lips in thought. A few moments passed before he spoke. “So what happened?”

“I tried to apologize to Hannah, but she wouldn’t even let me in her house. We hardly spoke to each other after that.” Mom had a faraway look in her eyes. “I saw her every day in school for nine years, though. Then we graduated, and she moved away for college. I haven’t seen her since, but to this day I wonder if things could have been different.”

Her eyes met Timmy’s, and she smiled again. “Son, perhaps you are right about that horse. Perhaps it is yours, and maybe Chris will see that someday. But you must ask yourself if it is worth fighting over. Is it worth ruining a friendship?”

She rose, walked to the doorway, and looked back at him. “I can never go back and save my friendship with Hannah, but you and Chris still have a chance. It’s something to think about.”

And she left, leaving Timmy to his thoughts.


The next afternoon, Timmy went downstairs to play some video games in the living room after finishing his homework. However, Chris was already there, playing a superhero game. Timmy watched for a moment as Chris pummeled wave after wave of supervillains with his lightning bolts.

“You’re playing as Electrix?” he finally asked.

Chris nodded. “Yeah, he’s the best.” There was no bitterness in his words. Chris wasn’t the kind to hold grudges.

“I don’t know,” said Timmy. “I think Magnetar is better. His magnetic attacks are unstoppable.”

“Nah, Electrix is definitely better,” said Chris.

Their eyes met briefly. Timmy could almost see the defensiveness in Chris’s eyes, as if he expected another argument. Perhaps he would have before, but this time . . .

You and Chris still have a chance . . .

“Maybe you’re right,” he admitted.

Visibly relieved, Chris turned his focus back to his game. While he finished fighting off the last round of enemies, Timmy was quiet.

“Hey,” Chris said at last, “would you like to play with me?”

Timmy smiled. “Sure.”