فصل 18کتاب: خدایا اونجایی؟ منم، مارگارت / فصل 18
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متن انگلیسی فصل
On March eighth I was twelve years old. The first thing I did was sniff under my arms, the way my mother does. Nothing! I didn’t smell a thing. Still, now that I was twelve, I decided I’d better use deodorant, just in case. I went into my parents’ bathroom and reached for my mother’s roll-on. When I got dressed I went down to the kitchen for breakfast.
“Happy Birthday, Margaret!” my mother sang, bending over to kiss me while I was drinking my orange juice.
“Thank you, Mom,” I said. “I used your deodorant.”
My mother laughed. “You don’t have to use mine. I’ll get you your own.”
“You will?” I asked.
“Sure, if you want to use it regularly.”
“Well, I think I’d better. I’m twelve now, you know.”
“I know-I know.” My mother smiled at me while she cut some banana onto my cereal.
Grandma sent me a hundred-dollar savings bond as she does every year-plus three new sweaters with Made Expressly for You… by Grandma labels in them, a new bathing suit and an airline ticket to Florida! Round trip, leaving from Newark Airport at noon on April fourth. Was I excited!
In school Mr. Benedict shook my hand and wished me a lot of good luck in the coming year. He led the class in singing “Happy Birthday” to me. Nancy, Janie and Gretchen chipped in and bought me the new Mice Men record album. They gave it to me at lunch. Nancy mailed me a separate birthday card signed, A million thanks to the best friend a girl could ever have. I guess she was still scared I’d give away her secret.
That afternoon Mr. Benedict announced that for the next three weeks a part of each school day would be devoted to committee work. We were going to do projects on different countries. Janie, Nancy, Gretchen and I gave each other looks saying we’d work together, of course.
But that sneaky Miles J. Benedict! He said that since he wanted us to work with people we hadn’t worked with before he had made up the committees already. Well, that’s a first-year teacher for you! Didn’t he know that was a bad idea? Didn’t he know he was supposed to let us form our own committees? Teachers never come right out and say they’ve picked who you should work with. It’s bad enough that they fool you a lot by pretending to let you choose a subject when they know all along what you’re going to do. But this was ridiculous!
I guess Mr. Benedict didn’t think it was ridiculous because he was already reading out names of committees. Each group had four kids in it. Two boys and two girls, with one group left over that had three girls. I really couldn’t believe it when he read my group. Norman Fishbein, Philip Leroy, Laura Danker and me! I glanced sideways at Janie. She rolled her eyes at me. I raised my eyebrow back at her.
Mr. Benedict asked us to rearrange our desks into our groups. I was going to have to talk to Laura Danker! There would be no way of getting out of it. I was also going to be spending a lot of time with Philip Leroy, which was pretty exciting to think about.
The first thing Philip did after we moved our desks together was to sing to me.
“Happy Birthday to you,
You live in a zoo,
You look like a monkey,
And you smell like one too!”
Then he pinched me on the arm-really hard! Enough to make tears come to my eyes. He said, “That’s pinch to grow an inch. And you know where you need that inch!”
I knew it was just a joke. I knew I shouldn’t take it seriously. For one thing, I did not smell like a monkey. I was wearing deodorant! And for another thing, it was none of Philip Leroy’s business whether or not I needed to grow an inch anywhere! As far as I was concerned, Nancy could have him. They deserved each other.
To make matters worse I had to sit facing Laura Danker. I hated her. I hated her for being so big and beautiful and having all the boys stare at her, including Mr. Benedict. Also, I hated her because she knew she was normal and I didn’t know a thing about me! I hated Mr. Benedict too-for sticking me with Norman Fishbein. Norman was such a drip!
So all in all my birthday, which started out to be the most perfect day of my life, ended up being pretty rotten. I couldn’t wait for spring vacation to come. The only good thing I had to look forward to was my trip to Florida. I was sick of school.
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