فصل 13کتاب: خدایا اونجایی؟ منم، مارگارت / فصل 13
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“Margaret-you’ve got a letter,” my mother called from the studio. “It’s on the front table.”
I just about never get any letters. Probably because I never write anybody back. So I dashed over to the front table and picked it up. Miss Margaret Simon, it said. I turned the envelope around but there was no return address. I wondered who sent it. Wondering made it much more fun than ripping it open and knowing right away. It was probably just an advertisement anyway. Finally, when I couldn’t stand it any more I opened it-very slowly and very carefully so I wouldn’t rip up the envelope. It was an invitation! I knew right away because of the picture-a bunch of kids dancing around a record. Also, it said, having a party.
Who’s having a party, I thought. Who’s having a party and invited me? Naturally I could have found out right away. I could have looked inside. But this was better. I considered the possibilities. It couldn’t be a PTS because I would have known. It could be somebody I knew from New York or camp, except I hadn’t written to any old friends to tell them my new address.
Anyway, the envelope was postmarked New Jersey. Let’s see, I thought. Who could it be? Who? Finally, I opened it.
Come on over on Saturday, Dec. 20
from 5 pm to 9 pm (supper)
1334 Whittingham Terrace
“Norman Fishbein!” I yelled. That drip! I never even talked to him. Why would he invite me to his party? Still, a party is a party. And for supper too!
“Hey Mom!” I yelled, running into the studio. My mother was standing away from her canvas, studying her work. Her paint brush was in her mouth, between her teeth. “Guess what, Mom?”
“What?” she said, not taking the paint brush away.
“I’m invited to a supper party. Here-look-“ I showed her my invitation.
She read it. “Who’s Norman Fishbein?” She took the paint brush out of her mouth.
“A kid in my class.”
“Do you like him?”
“He’s okay. Can I go?”
“Well… I suppose so.” My mother dabbed some red paint on her canvas. Then the phone rang.
“I’ll get it.” I ran into the kitchen and said a breathless hello.
“It’s Nancy. Did you get invited?”
“Yes,” I said. “Did you?”
“Mmm. We all did. Janie and Gretchen too.”
“Can you go?” Sure.
“I’ve never been to a supper party,” Nancy said.
“Me either. Should we dress up?” I asked.
“My mother’s going to call Mrs. Fishbein. I’ll let you know.” She hung up.
Ten minutes later the phone rang again. I answered.
“Margaret. It’s me again.”
“You’ll never believe this!” Nancy said.
“What? What won’t I believe?”
“We’re all invited.”
“What do you mean all?”
“Our whole class.”
“All twenty-eight of us?”
“That’s what Mrs. Fishbein told my mother.”
“I guess so.”
“Do you think she’ll come?” I asked, trying to picture Laura at a party.
“Well, her mother and Mrs. Fishbein work on a lot of committees together. So maybe her mother will make her.”
“How about Philip Leroy?”
“He’s invited. That’s all I know. And Mrs. Fishbein said definitely party clothes.”
When I hung up I raced back to the studio. “Mom-our whole class is invited!”
“Your whole class?” My mother put her paint brush down and looked at me.
“Yes. All twenty-eight of us.”
“Mrs. Fishbein must be crazy!” my mother said.
“Should I wear my velvet, do you think?”
“It’s your best. You might as well.”
On the day of the party I talked to Nancy six times, to Janie three times and to Gretchen twice. Nancy called me back every time she changed her mind about what to wear. And each time she asked me if I was still wearing my velvet. I told her I was. The rest of the time we made our arrangements. We decided that Nancy would sleep over at my house and that Gretchen would sleep over at Janie’s. Mr. Wheeler would drive us all to the party and Mr. Loomis would drive us home.
My mother washed my hair at two o’clock. She gave me a cream rinse too, so I wouldn’t get tangles. She set it in big rollers all over my head. I sat under her hair dryer. Then she filed my nails with an emery board instead of just cutting them like usual. My velvet dress was already laid out on my bed along with my new underwear, party shoes and tights. My new underwear was not the ordinary cotton kind. It was nylon, trimmed with lace around the edges. It was supposed to be one of my December tradition gifts. All afternoon I kept thinking that maybe Norman Fishbein wasn’t such a drip.
After my bath I was supposed to go to my room and rest so I’d be in good shape for the party. I went to my room and closed the door-only I didn’t feel like resting. What I did was move my desk chair in front of my dresser mirror. Then I stood on the chair and took off my robe. I stood naked in front of the mirror. I was starting to get some hairs. I turned around and studied myself sideways. Then I got off the chair and moved it closer to the mirror. I stood back up on it and looked again. My head looked funny with all those rollers. The rest of me looked the same.
Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret I hate to remind you God… I mean, I know you’re busy. But it’s already December and I’m not growing. At least I don’t see any real difference. Isn’t it time God? Don’t you think I’ve waited patiently? Please help me.
I hopped off the chair and sat down on the edge of my bed, putting on my clean underwear and tights. Then I stood in front of the mirror again. I didn’t look at myself for very long this time.
I went into the bathroom and opened the bottom cabinet. There was a whole box of cotton balls. Sterile until opened, the package said. I reached in and grabbed a few. My heart was pounding, which seemed stupid because what was I so afraid of anyway? I mean, if my mother saw me grab some cotton balls she wouldn’t say anything. I use them all the time-to put calamine on my summer mosquito bites-to clean off cuts and bruises-to put on my face lotion at night. But my heart kept pounding anyway, because I knew what I was going to do with the cotton balls.
I tiptoed back to my room and closed the door. I stepped into my closet and stood in one corner. I shoved three cotton balls into each side of my bra. Well, so what if it was cheating! Probably other girls did it too. I’d look a lot better, wouldn’t I? So why not!
I came out of the closet and got back up on my chair. This time when I turned sideways I looked like I’d grown. I liked it!
Are you still there God? See how nice my bra looks now! That’s all I need-just a little help. I’ll really be good around the house God. I’ll clear the table every night for a month at least! Please God…
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