Effie Starr Look Has One More Question
In late May, Effie’s dad left for the Arabian Peninsula, where the flight of Sunspot I would begin. He would do last-minute preparations on the ground. Later, Effie’s mom would join him.
But first she helped pack up what her daughter needed for the summer in the family Land Rover and drove her to Pennsylvania. They had just crossed the Delaware River when Mom mentioned that Aunt Clare and Uncle Ted didn’t know much about kids. “Are you saying they don’t want me?” Effie asked. “Because now is a bad time to bring that up.” “No, no, no,” her mother said. “Your aunt and uncle love you. It’s just that they don’t have kids of their own, and they aren’t around kids much. But I told them you are very self-sufficient. ‘You won’t have to worry about her for one minute,’ I told them. ‘She is bringing books and her ipad. She will be fine.’” For a few minutes after that the only sounds in the car were the whoosh and hum of the road. “Do you like your sister?” Effie asked. Not having a sibling of her own, Effie was more-than-average interested in how that whole thing worked. “Of course,” Mom said. “I love her.” “But do you like her?” Effie repeated. “Of course,” Mom said again. “Well... we are very different. I’m the big sister and I’ve always been more, I guess you’d say, outgoing. You won’t find Clare designing a solar airplane, for example, or flying one either. She’s too much of a worrier for one thing, and for another she never had much drive.” It was quiet for a moment before Mom added, “Not that that’s a bad thing. It takes all kinds to make up a world.” “Or a family,” Effie said. “Yes,” said her mom. “Or a family.” “I want a bicycle,” Effie said. “I want a bicycle so I can go places without bothering Aunt Clare and Uncle Ted. A bicycle will make me more self-sufficient.” “Hmmm,” said her mother. “Do you suppose it’s safe for you to ride a bike around Penn Creek?” Effie shrugged. “According to you, in Penn Creek, nothing ever happens.” Eyes fixed on the road, Effie’s mother nodded. “That’s true,” she said. “Let’s stop and get you a bike.” Effie used her phone to find the nearest bike store, and a few minutes later they pulled off Highway 80. When they resumed their trip, a blue fifteen-speed bike hung from a new black bike rack on the back of the Land Rover. “Thank you,” Effie said. “Just promise you’ll wear your helmet,” her mom said. Effie had promised, and now—with that in mind—she retrieved the helmet, which was purple and silver, from its hook in the mudroom. She hadn’t actually worn it yet or gotten her bike out of the garage either.
Maybe, she thought, this will be the start of an adventure of my own.