Chapter 22 and Chapter 23 Summary
Although Leo expects Stargirl’s parents to be throwbacks from the 1960s hippie movement, he finds them to be quite ordinary. Mrs. Caraway is sewing a costume in shorts and a tank top, and Mr. Caraway is on a stepladder painting the outside windowsills on their house. The house contains some eclectic items, but there is nothing that reflects Stargirl’s quirkiness. The same is true for her bedroom, which is ordinary in every way. Leo looks puzzled and Stargirl enjoys his consternation, guessing what he expected to find. She explains she has an office in a secret location, and Leo surmises that Archie knows where it is. Stargirl simply smiles.
Leo does notice two unusual items in the room. One is a wooden bowl containing strands of Stargirl’s hair. She explains that she sets it out every spring to help the birds build their nests. The second item appears to be a small wooden toy wagon that looks very old. In it is a pile of small stones. When Leo asks her about them, Stargirl tells him this is her happy wagon. There are twenty little rocks, and each time she is happy she places one of them in the wagon; when she is sad she takes one out. Leo asks how many pebbles have been in the wagon at any one time, and Stargirl smiles and tells him right now it has as many rocks as it has ever had at one time—seventeen. She reveals that at her lowest, it was down to only three stones; Leo is surprised that she ever has felt that low.
Dinner is fine, and Leo discovers Stargirl is a vegetarian. After a dinner of tofu meatloaf for her and real meatloaf for the rest, the two of them sit on the front porch. Stargirl has her camera, and they watch a five-year-old boy from across the street as he plays with some friends. She explains that his name is Peter and she is preparing his biography. It is a surprising concept to Leo, but Stargirl thinks everyone should have some kind of documentation about their lives for the years they are not likely to remember. One day many years from now, she is convinced that a biography of those early years would be an invaluable treasure, so she is doing that for Peter.
Leo agrees that he can barely remember those years of his life, but he thinks it is something a parent should do. Stargirl says she just catches him when she can, at unexpected moments his parents would not capture. An incredulous Leo asks if she is a saint but immediately regrets it when he sees the hurt in her eyes. Though it may have sounded insulting, Leo insists he is simply amazed at how much of her time and energy is spent caring for and thinking about other people. Stargirl is surprised at the thought then beams at Leo. “You’re jealous,” she says, jealous that she is spending so much time and energy on others and not on him. She pushes the argument despite Leo’s protestations, then she moves toward him for a kiss—right...
(The entire section is 799 words.)