Chapter 13 Summary
When the pageant is over, Margaret goes home and finds a letter waiting for her. She is excited because she rarely gets mail, so she makes the process of reading it take as long as possible. She looks it over for a while before she tears open the envelope. When she sees the card, she can tell it is a party invitation, but she forces herself to wait a few minutes before she unfolds the card to see who sent it. It turns out to be a formal invitation to a dinner party. It comes from Norman Fishbein, a boy Margaret does not like—nobody does—but “a party is a party.” She immediately decides she wants to go.
Soon Margaret learns from Nancy that everyone in their whole class is invited to Norman’s party. It is a formal event, and they are all expected to wear nice party clothes. Margaret’s mother gives permission for Margaret to go but seems skeptical when she learns that the party is for twenty-eight kids. “Mrs. Fishbein must be crazy!” she says.
On the day of the party, Margaret’s mother helps her wash and curl her hair. Margaret has decided to wear her best velvet dress, and she gets her clothes ready carefully. In the afternoon, her mother sends her to her room to rest up, but Margaret does not feel tired. She closes her bedroom door and strips naked in front of the mirror. She is growing a few hairs here and there, but her breasts do not look any bigger.
God cannot make Margaret grow between now and tonight’s party, so Margaret takes matters into her own hands. She sneaks to the bathroom, heart pounding, and gets some cotton balls. On her way back to her room, she tells herself not to be nervous. There is nothing wrong with using cotton balls, at least not for normal purposes. But Margaret knows that her current purposes are a big deal.
Back in her bedroom, Margaret stuffs her bra, putting three cotton balls in each cup. She knows this is “cheating,” but she does not think it matters. A lot of girls probably do it. When she is done, she gets dressed and examines herself in the mirror. She thinks she looks better now, and she begs God to help her grow a little. She even tries to bargain with him: “I’ll clear the table for a month at least! Please God . . . .”