I made the mistake last week of telling Mia that space ships are real, and now she wants to go to space.
"I can do it!" she said. "I can go to space!"
"Don't," I said. "It's dangerous."
"But I can make a space ship! Pass the glitter glue."
I did, but disapprovingly.
"You're not gonna fit in there," I said.
She held up the shoe box she was working on. It had paper fins glued to the side and little windows cut out. "I'll make it work."
I doubted it, but left her to it.
Later, Mom made spaghetti.
"Hey hon," she said. "Dinner's almost ready. Go get your sister."
Mia wasn't in her room. She wasn't in my room, either. She wasn't in Mom's room, or the living room, or the laundry room. I went outside and called for her, but she wasn't there, either.
I went back to her room to see if I missed something. On her desk, I found the big matchbox Mom used for the barbecue grill, the one that has 1000 matches inside, only it was empty and painted black. It looked like someone had glued shirt buttons to the front. Next to it was a note that said,
Gone 2 space
Be back soon
I picked up the matchbox and "pressed" a button. It crackled to life like a walkie-talkie.
"Mia," I said. "Dinner. Mom cooked spaghetti."
"Awww, but I'm in space!"
"Be in space later," I said. "You gotta come down."
"Okay, lemme beam in."
A second later, she tumbled out of her closet.
"Where's your ship?" I said.
"Still in orbit," she said. "Is there garlic bread?"
"I dunno," I said.
We went downstairs.