Mary Anne Misses Logan, p.1Ann M. Martin
For Joe, Monica, and “the boys”
Letter from Ann M. Martin
About the Author
I missed Logan.
I had been missing him for some time. And the missing hurt. Logan and I used to be so close that we were almost part of each other. Sometimes I knew what he was thinking; we didn’t even need to talk.
I am Mary Anne Spier, and Logan Bruno is my boyfriend. I mean, he used to be. But awhile ago I told him I needed some time away from him, and before I knew it, we had broken up. (Well, that’s not exactly how it happened.)
It was a dreary Thursday afternoon, cool and drizzly. Rain had been falling since the night before, and the sky had been overcast for two days before that. So I was sitting by the window in our living room, looking out at the mist and brooding. I was brooding about two things — Logan, and this huge English assignment that had been given to all of us eighth-graders at Stoneybrook Middle School (or SMS) here in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.
I am a pretty good brooder.
Especially when I am alone.
And I was alone that afternoon. My dad and my stepmother were at work, and my stepsister was baby-sitting. My stepsister is Dawn Schafer, and she happens to be one of my two best friends. She’s also an eighth-grader at SMS.
I was waiting around to baby-sit, too. Later that afternoon I would be picked up and driven to the Kormans’ house, where I would sit with their three children — Bill, Melody, and Skylar — until about nine-thirty. My friends and I baby-sit a lot. In fact, we baby-sit so much that we’ve formed a business called the Baby-sitters Club (or the BSC). A bunch of my friends and I are the regular club members. Six of us live in my neighborhood, but our club president, Kristy Thomas, lives in a fancy area across town, where she moved when her mom got remarried. The Kormans live across the street and one house up from Kristy. I haven’t baby-sat for them too often. Partly, this is because they are new here. (They moved into the house where a family named Delaney used to live.) Anyway, since Kristy lives so close by, she baby-sits for the Kormans more than the rest of us do.
It’s funny, I thought. Sometimes I feel lonelier when I’ve gotten used to having a lot of people around than when I’ve been spending time by myself. I don’t know why this is true, but it is, at least for me. See, for the longest time I lived with just my dad. My mother died when I was really little, and I don’t remember her. After that it was Dad and me on our own. And I spent a lot of time alone. That was mostly because I didn’t have any brothers or sisters, but also because my father was really strict with me. I think he wanted to prove to everyone that he could raise a daughter just fine, and be both a father and a mother to me. But he made up all these rules! He told me what to wear, how to fix my hair, and how to decorate my room. He wouldn’t let me ride my bicycle downtown or talk on the phone after dinner unless I was talking about homework. And I had to go to bed unreasonably early. It was no wonder I hardly had any friends, except for Kristy Thomas. (We used to live next door to each other. That was before we both moved. Kristy is my other best friend.)
But things began to change, first slowly, then quite suddenly. The slow changes started when I was finally able to convince my father that I was a middle-schooler, not a baby, and that I was responsible, honest, and all those other good things. When Dad realized that, he loosened the reins. He let me wear my hair however I wanted instead of in two braids. He let me choose my own clothes. (Within reason. I’m not allowed to wear really cool things, such as cowboy boots, the way most of my friends are. And I’m still not allowed to get my ears pierced, although Dad lets me wear clip-ons.) Dad also lightened up on the telephone and bedtime rules.
Then came the sudden change. My dad met (actually, I guess he remet) his high school sweetheart, Dawn Schafer’s mother. The Schafers had been living in California, but when they got divorced, Mrs. Schafer, Dawn, and Dawn’s younger brother, Jeff, moved back here to Stoneybrook. And then Dad and Sharon (that’s Mrs. Shafer) got together (okay, Dawn and I got them together), they dated for what seemed like ages, and finally they got married! That was the sudden change. After the wedding, Dad and I and my kitten, Tigger, moved into Dawn’s house, because it’s bigger. (In case you’re interested, it’s a colonial farmhouse with a real secret passage that might be haunted.) So that’s where I live with my new family. Oh, except for Jeff. Jeff never adjusted to life in Connecticut, so he moved back to California, and now he lives there with his dad.
Sometime during all these changes, I met Logan, and we became friends and started going out together. This was odd for a couple of reasons. One, if Dad had been as strict as he used to be, I would never have been allowed to date Logan or anyone else. Two, I am the shyest of all my friends — and I was the first to start dating a boy steadily.
As I said before, Logan and I grew so close I felt as if we were almost a part of each other. We shared secrets, and we understood each other perfectly. At least, I thought we did. But I began to feel sort of smothered by Logan. Since he knew that I was shy and didn’t necessarily speak up (even though I was honest with him), he began to take charge of things. He would expect me always to be free to go out with him, he’d choose the movie we were going to see, and sometimes he’d even order for me in restaurants — without asking what I wanted to eat. He wasn’t letting me be me. So after a lot of thinking (and believe me, this took every ounce of courage I had), I finally told Logan I wanted to cool our relationship. I needed time to consider things. Only I guess I took too long, or maybe Logan took things the wrong way. At any rate, our relationship cooled off so much that it froze and snapped in two.
And so I missed Logan.
And I felt lonelier than I ever had when I was an “alone” person and didn’t know what I was missing. Now I had a family and lots of friends, but they weren’t around that afternoon and I needed to talk to somebody. To Dawn or Dad or Kristy, or my other friends from the BSC: Stacey or Jessi or Claudia or Mallory.
Or to Logan.
I realized that he was the one I really wanted to talk to and be with. Dad and Sharon (my stepmother) give great parent advice, and Dawn and my friends are the best — they’re people with whom I hope I’ll be friends for the rest of my life. But Logan is a boy (he’s also Logan), so my relationship with him is different from my relationship with my parents or my friends.
Aside from the special understanding we share, Logan provides romance. Only he could give me a hug and a kiss in just the right way and tell me that I would do fine on the English assignment.
The English assignment.
Thinking about what my teacher had told our class today was like remembering a bad dream.
“Right, Tigger?” I said. “It was a nightmare.”
Tigger had jumped into my lap and was purring furiously. He didn’t have anything to worry about, except maybe whether some irresponsible person would close the door to the closet in which his litter box is kept.
“Oh, Tiggy, Tiggy, Tiggy,” I whispered. I stroked his gray, stripy fur. I hoped he would settle down for a nap in my lap, which would be comforting, but instead, he took
I sighed, thinking of the English assignment again. This is what our teacher had said: We were going to be randomly assigned to groups of about four people, and each group would then be given the name of an author to study. That didn’t sound so bad, although I don’t exactly love working in a group. I’d rather work alone, or at least with people I choose myself. The bad part was that this assignment was being given not just to our class, but to our entire grade. That meant you could be grouped with about a million different kids. Well, not really, but there are a few kids in my grade whom I don’t like and definitely would not want to work with. (For instance, Cokie Mason, who is my mortal enemy.) And there are even more kids I simply don’t know. What if I ended up working with three people I didn’t like or didn’t know? I would be too shy to talk. They would think I was a real jerk. Not only that, but we were only going to be given a certain amount of school time in which to work. The rest of the work would have to be done after school and on weekends. I pictured myself over at the house of someone I didn’t know, and shuddered.
I knew there was no way out of the assignment (except to fail English). I knew this because our teacher had said the assignment was designed to study an author in depth, as well as to strengthen social skills, such as cooperation. So I couldn’t very well suggest I do an independent study. If I did, I’d be missing half the point of the project.
Oh, I wished I could talk to somebody — Logan or one of my friends.
If I had been able to reach anybody, I probably would have turned first to my stepsister, Dawn, then to Logan, then to Kristy, and then to Stacey McGill, Jessi Ramsey, Claudia Kishi, or Mallory Pike.
Dawn is a good person to talk to. She’s understanding and she listens well, and she doesn’t always tell you to do the things everyone else would do. This is because Dawn is an individual. (Everyone is an individual, but Dawn is a true individual.) She’s not easily swayed by other people’s opinions, or by what they do, how they dress, how they talk, etc. She dresses in her own way, which my friends and I call “California casual” — loose, comfortable clothes with a lot of style. Get this: Dawn has two holes pierced in each ear, so her jewelry can be on the wild side. Sometimes (since she is an individual) she’ll wear one huge dangly earring in one ear, and two tiny nonmatching earrings in the other ear. In terms of clothes, Dawn could probably get away with wearing a burlap bag, because she’s gorgeous. (Once, ages ago, she won a beautiful-baby contest!) Dawn has long, almost-down-to-her-waist hair, so blonde it’s practically white, and sparkling blue eyes. She’s thin and a health-food addict. She doesn’t like to be within a mile of a piece of meat, she doesn’t eat sugar, and she loves things like brown rice and tofu. Not my idea of a really swell meal.
Living under the same roof with Dawn has been both good and bad. The good part is, of course, gaining a stepsister who was already a close friend. There’s nothing like knowing Dawn is in the next room when I wake up in the middle of the night suddenly panicked over a school project … or over Logan.
On the other hand, Dawn and her mom are pretty different from Dad and me. For one thing, my father and I like normal food — fruits and vegetables plus meat and cake and chocolate. (By the way, if Dawn tells me one more time that carob is just as good as chocolate, I will make her take a taste test.) Also, Sharon is a total scatterbrain, while Dad is a neat freak. Dawn and I fall somewhere in between, and it’s a little hard on us when, for instance, Dad wants to clean the house, Sharon says we can let it go for another month or so, and then they have an argument. There are smaller problems, too: Sharon is not a huge fan of cats (poor Tiggy), and Dawn likes to study with the radio or some music on, while I need absolute silence for studying.
However, I wouldn’t trade these problems for my old life if you paid me a million dollars. I like my new family too much. Dawn and Sharon like it, too. When Jeff moved back to California, Dawn felt as if her family had been ripped in half, her father and brother on one side of the country, Dawn and her mother on the other side. Of course, Dad and I don’t make up for Jeff and Mr. Schafer, but Dawn is happier with four people (plus Tiggy) in her house, instead of just two.
Now, if Logan and I were speaking to each other, and I had a problem and couldn’t talk to Dawn, I might turn to him next. Logan is a newer friend than most of my others, but as I’ve said, we used to be awfully close. Logan knew what made me nervous or uncomfortable and why. And he didn’t try to change me. If I felt self-conscious about dancing at a school hop, then Logan was content to hang around the punch bowl with me. He doesn’t believe that the best way to conquer your fears is to meet them face-to-face. Maybe that works for some people, but not for Mary Anne Spier. And Logan understood. That meant a lot to me.
Logan is also very patient. I think this is because he has a younger sister and brother, Kerry and Hunter, whom he takes care of pretty often. Kerry is ten and Hunter is five. They’re both really cute. Hunter has awful allergies, though, and his nose gets stuffed up, so he usually talks like this: “Hi, by dabe is Hudter Brudo.” (That means, “Hi, my name is Hunter Bruno.”)
The Brunos moved to Stoneybrook from Louisville, Kentucky, and they speak with this wonderful accent. I just love listening to Logan. He’s not bad to look at, either. In fact, I think he looks just like Cam Geary, who is one of my favorite stars. He has long legs and blondish-brown hair. And his sense of humor is terrific. I miss his humor as much as anything else.
Kristy Thomas is my oldest friend and one of my best friends, but she is not necessarily the person I’d go to in a crisis. It isn’t that Kristy’s not understanding — she is — it’s just that often her mouth gets in the way of her brain and sometimes (oh, all right, really often) she says things she doesn’t mean to say. Kristy’s been like a sister to me, though, and our families have gone through similar kinds of changes recently, so Kristy is pretty sympathetic where some subjects are concerned.
Kristy and I grew up next door to each other, right across the street from Claudia Kishi, in fact. Kristy has three brothers — two older ones, Sam and Charlie, who go to Stoneybrook High School; and a younger one, David Michael, who’s in second grade at the elementary school. She has a mom and a dad, too, only she never sees her father. Mr. Thomas walked out on his family when Kristy was about six. Now he lives somewhere in California. After Mr. Thomas left, Kristy’s mother had to scramble around to hold her family together, and she did really well. She got a job at a company in Stamford, and now she’s a V.I.P. (Very Important Person), with an even bigger job there. Anyway, back when Kristy and I were just beginning seventh grade, Kristy’s mom was just beginning to date this guy named Watson Brewer, who happened to be a millionaire and who also happened to be Kristy’s future stepfather. Mrs. Thomas and Watson (I call him by his first name because that’s how Kristy refers to him) got married during the summer after seventh grade. Suddenly Kristy found herself living a new life. Watson moved the Thomases out of their small house — in which Sam and Charlie had shared a room, and David Michael’s room was about the size of a closet — and across town to his mansion, which is so big that everyone who lives there has his or her own bedroom. (Well, except for Watson and Kristy’s mother. They share a room, of course.) And you should hear who lives in the mansion now. Aside from Kristy and her family and Watson, there are Karen and Andrew Brewer, Emily Michelle, and Nannie. Karen and Andrew are Kristy’s little stepsister and stepbrother, Watson’s kids from his first marriage. Karen just turned seven, and Andrew is almost five. Even though they live with their mom and stepfather most of the time (not far away; just in another neighborhood in Stoneybrook), they spend every other weekend and two weeks during the summer at Watson’s house. Kristy has grown really close to Karen and And
Just a couple more things about Kristy, and then I’ll tell you about Stacey and the others. Kristy and I look a lot alike. We are both short for our age (Kristy is shorter), and we both have brown eyes and brown hair. We used to dress the same way, too — like babies — but for different reasons. I dressed like a first-grader because my father was choosing my clothes for me. Kristy dressed like a first-grader because she couldn’t care less about clothes. Now I’ve graduated to wearing whatever I think Dad will let me get away with, while Kristy has simply become the most casual dresser in existence. My friends and I think of her clothes as her “uniform.” Tomboy Kristy almost always wears jeans, sneakers, a turtleneck shirt or a T-shirt, and sometimes this baseball cap and a sweat shirt. I think she’s allergic to dresses.
Stacey couldn’t be more different from Kristy if she tried. Stacey McGill is super sophisticated. She grew up in New York City, and her mom lets her do things like have her hair permed. Of course her ears are pierced. Stacey has blue eyes and shoulder-length fluffy blonde hair (not nearly as straight or as light as Dawn’s) and she’s thin. (Stacey is sick a lot. She has diabetes.)
Stacey is a math brain, but what she really knows about is style. You should see how she dresses. I’ve never met anyone quite like Stacey. She always knows what’s the newest in fashion, and she puts together these chic outfits like paisley-print leggings; a huge, long shirt; short, black, lace-up boots; and a ton of silver jewelry. She might top off the look with a black fedora. Stacey is also allowed to wear makeup, plus she’ll do wild things like paint a tiny heart on each of her fingernails.
Mary Anne Misses Logan by Ann M. Martin / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes