Anastasia on Her Own

Free Anastasia on Her Own by Lois Lowry

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Authors: Lois Lowry
Tags: Ages 9 & Up
carefully applied purplish red lipstick, going slightly beyond the borders of her lips to give herself a mature, passionate look.
    She opened her mother's jewelry box and found, to her delight, a pair of dangly earrings with some small purple stones. Wincing, she screwed them tightly onto her earlobes. Good grief. No
wonder
her mother never wore those earrings; they were excruciating.
    Still, when she looked at herself in the mirror, tilting her head from side to side so that the earrings moved and jangled, the effect was terrific.
    I
glitter,
Anastasia thought.
    But the hair, she thought despondently; the hair stinks.
    She brushed her long straight hair, bunched it up in her hand, and twisted it onto the top of her head. Firmly she adhered it there with bobby pins. That hurt, too. In fact, she was now in almost unbearable pain, both in her earlobes and on the top of her head.
    But it's worth it, she thought, looking in the mirror at her new self, purple with make-up, glittering in the ears, and minus the long mane of tangled hair. I'm a new person. A new sophisticated, mature,
passionate
person.
    Maybe I should show Dad, she thought.
    No. Better to surprise him, when I appear on Friday night.
    Quickly she undid her hair, removed the earrings, and went to the bathroom to wash off the make-up. A pink washcloth was ruined; she tossed it into the laundry hamper. She gathered up the make-up, the earrings, and the bobby pins to take them to her room. As an afterthought, she looked in the medicine cabinet and added a bottle of aspirin to her load. I may need that, she thought, to counteract the pain when I put on those earrings and bobby pins again.

    Scrubbed, brushed, and in her pajamas and bathrobe, Anastasia went down to the study. Her father had started a fire in the fireplace, and there was music playing on the stereo. He looked up from the book he was reading when Anastasia came in.
    "I want to talk to you, Dad," she said.
    "Guess what," he said. "Some intruder was here. Someone with no taste."
    "What do you mean? No one was here all day except me and Sam. Meredith and Sonya stopped by with my homework, but they didn't come in. Anyway, they have great taste. You should see the new sweatshirt Meredith has — punk city is written across the front, in rhinestones."
    Dr. Krupnik laughed. "I'll argue that one with you some other time," he said, "in about five years. No, look; here's what I meant. Look what I found on the stereo."
    He picked up the Rachmaninoff album and displayed it with a look of disdain.
    "Dad,
I
was playing that. It's
great.
"
    "Anastasia, I wish you'd learn to appreciate Bach. Rachmaninoff is schmaltzy."
    Anastasia flopped on the couch beside him. "Wouldn't you say that it's romantic, Dad? I read in a magazine that that record is romantic, and so I tried it out, and it
is.
At least I thought so. It almost made me faint, listening to it."
    "
Faint?
Did you forget to eat lunch?"
    Anastasia thought. "Well, yes, I guess I did forget to eat lunch. I fed Sam, though. I gave him scrambled eggs."
    Her father put the album back down. "Try to remember to eat, Anastasia. It's important, especially at your age. You're a growing girl."
    "Dad, that's sort of what I want to talk to you about. About the fact that I'm growing up, and having a date Friday night and all that. And I want to talk to you, ah, about passion."
    Her father put his book down. He lit his pipe. "About passion?" he asked, after he got the pipe going. "Help! Where's your mother? I need your mother. This is the kind of conversation thirteen-year-old girls are supposed to have with their
mothers.
"
    Anastasia giggled. "Don't panic," she said reassuringly. "It's just that I'm kind of worried about you."
    "About me?"
    "I mean about you and Friday night. The problem is this: it's my very first date, as you know, and that's important, and I think I'm being a pretty good sport about not going to the movies so that I can be a chaperone for you and

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