Chapter 22 Summary
The following day, Margaret keeps to her room during breakfast and asks permission to leave the house in the afternoon. Margaret’s mother agrees that it would be a good idea for her to get away for a while. They make plans for Margaret to meet Janie and go to a movie.
The two girls arrive at the theater a little early, so they go to the drugstore to hang out until the show starts. They gaze curiously at the display of maxi pads, and Margaret suggests that they each buy some. She has been considering this for a while, but today is the first time that she feels brave enough to actually do it.
Janie is not so sure. She does not need pads yet, and she is scared that her parents will be mad if she buys some and they find out. But Margaret insists, adding that their parents do not need to know, and eventually Janie agrees. They each select a box of pads, but their courage flags when they realize that there is a boy manning the cash register at the front of the store. Janie wants to give up and put the pads back, but Margaret asks a saleslady for help instead. The lady just directs Margaret to the boy at the cash register, so Margaret decides to go through with it. She marches up to the counter with both boxes of pads.
Throughout the purchase, Janie smiles stiffly, looking embarrassed almost to the point of tears. Margaret handles the payment and asks for two bags. The boy does not seem at all fazed by their purchase, and she marvels, “You’d think he sold that kind of stuff every day of the week.”
At home after the movie, Margaret gloats over her purchase. She hopes that God is watching, because she is doing really well without his advice or help. She sneaks into the closet, where she opens her package and tries on a pad. She considers sleeping in it, but she decides not to on the grounds that if she died in a fire overnight, everyone would learn her secret. In the end, she hides the box of pads in a drawer.
The following day, Margaret’s grandparents announce that they are going to New York for the remainder of the week. This disappoints Margaret’s mother, but Margaret’s father seems relieved. Margaret herself considers the whole thing “a cheat” since these people ruined her vacation and then did not even stay.