فصل 06کتاب: خدایا اونجایی؟ منم، مارگارت / فصل 6
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6 The next day after school Mr. Benedict called me up to his desk. “Margaret,” he said. “I’d like to discuss your getting-to-know-you paper. For instance, why do you hate religious holidays?”
Was I sorry I wrote that! How positively stupid of me. If it was true that he was trying to find out if we were normal, I guess he thought I wasn’t.
I half laughed. “Oh, I just wrote that,” I said. “I really don’t hate them at all.”
“You must have had a reason. You can tell me. It’s confidential.”
I raised my right eyebrow at Mr. Benedict. I can do that really good. Raise one without the other. I do it whenever I can’t think of anything to say. People notice it right away. Some people actually ask me how I do it. They forget what we were talking about and concentrate on my right eyebrow. I don’t know exactly how I do it. What I do is think about it and the eyebrow goes up. I can’t do it with my left. Only my right.
Mr. Benedict noticed. But he didn’t ask me anything about how I do it. He just said, “I’m sure you have a perfectly good reason for hating religious holidays.”
I knew he was waiting for me to say something. He wasn’t going to just forget about it. So I decided to get it over with in a hurry. “None of those holidays are special to me. I don’t belong to any religion,” I said.
Mr. Benedict seemed pleased. Like he had uncovered some deep, dark mystery. “I see. And your parents?”
“They aren’t any religion. I’m supposed to choose my own when I grow up. If I want to, that is.”
Mr. Benedict folded his hands and looked at me for a while. Then he said, “Okay, Margaret. You can go now.”
I hoped he decided I was normal, after all. I lived in New York for eleven and a half years and I don’t think anybody ever asked me about my religion. I never even thought about it. Now, all of a sudden, it was the big thing in my life.
That night when Grandma called she told me she’d gotten a subscription to Lincoln Center for the two of us. We’d meet one Saturday a month, have lunch and then go to a concert. Grandma really is clever. She knew my parents would never say no to one Saturday a month at Lincoln Center. That was culture. And they thought culture was very important. And now Grandma and I would have a chance to spend some time alone. But I was glad that Lincoln Center didn’t start right away because I didn’t want anything to interfere with Bra Day.
First thing on Saturday morning Moose Freed arrived to cut our lawn. My father sulked behind a sports magazine. His finger was a lot better but it was still bandaged.
I sat around outside while Moose cut the grass. I liked the way he sang as he worked. I also liked his teeth. I saw them when he smiled at me. They were very clean and white and one in the front was a little crooked. I pretended to be really busy reading a book but the truth is-I was watching Moose. If he looked toward me I put my nose back in the book in a hurry. Moose would be number one in my Boy Book if only I was brave enough, but what would Nancy think? She hated him.
After lunch my mother told my father we were going shopping. We still had our same car but my mother thought we needed two now, because there weren’t any buses in Farbrook and taxis were so expensive. My father said he’d see, but I knew we’d be getting another one soon. My mother can talk my father into anything.
My mother drove to a shopping center where there was a Lord amp; Taylor. I had on my blue plaid dress and my loafers without socks and three Bandaids on my blisters.
First we went to the ladies’ lingerie department where my mother told the saleslady we wanted to see a bra for me. The saleslady took one look and told my mother we’d be better off in the teen department where they had bras in very small sizes. My mother thanked the lady and I almost died! We went down on the escalator and headed for the teen shop. They had a whole display of underwear there. Bras and panties and slips to match. All I ever wore was white underpants and regular undershirts. Sometimes a slip if I was going to a party. My mother went to the counter and told the saleslady we were interested in a bra. I stood back and pretended not to know a thing. I even bent down to scratch a new mosquito bite.
“Come here, dear,” the saleslady called.
I hate people who call you dear. I walked over to the counter and raised my right eyebrow at her.
She reached over the top of the counter and said, “Let’s measure you, dear.” She put the tape measure all the way around me and smiled at my mother. “Twenty-eight,” she said. I felt like giving her a pinch.
Then she took out a bunch of bras and put them on the counter in front of us. My mother felt them all.
“Now dear-I suggest the Gro-Bra. It grows with you. You’re not quite ready for a double A. Suppose you try them on and see which is most comfortable.” She led us to a dressing room with a pink door that locked. My mother sat in the dressing room on a chair. I took off my dress. I wasn’t wearing anything underneath but pants. I picked up the first bra and stuck my arms into the straps. I couldn’t fasten it in back. My mother had to help me. She adjusted the straps and felt the front of me. “How does it feel?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Is it too tight?”
“Do you like it?”
“I guess… “
“Try on this one.”
She got me out of the first bra and into the next one. I wondered how I’d ever learn to do it by myself. Maybe my mother would have to dress me every day.
The next bra was softer than the first. My mother explained it was made of dacron. I liked the way it felt. My mother nodded. The third one was fancy. It was lace and it made me itch. My mother said it was impractical.
The saleslady knocked on the door as I was getting back into my dress. “How did we do? Did we find something?”
My mother told her we did. “We’ll take three of these,” she said, holding up the soft bra.
When we got back to the counter who should be there but Janie Loomis and her mother.
“Oh, hi, Margaret,” she said. “I’m getting some winter pajamas.” Her cheeks were bright red and I saw the selection of bras on the counter in front of her.
“Me too,” I said. “I’m getting some flannel pajamas for winter.”
“Well, see you Monday,” Janie said.
“Right-Monday.” I was plenty glad that my mother was down at the other end of the counter paying for my bras.
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