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Sasha and Tasha

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   She slapped me in the face. She looked at me with horror, as if I had somehow insulted her. Finally, she walked off in disgust. What wrong had I done? Why had she hit me? Tasha: This is her name, sounds like exotic music, doesn't it? Tasha is new in our class. Actually, her full name is Tatiana. I had never seen such a beautiful girl before. Such an unattainable girl! And such a snob! She definitely thinks too much of herself!
  I told the whole story to my older brother that evening.
   'Why was she behaving like that?' I asked him.
  'Such are the girls! Don't even try to understand them!' he sighed.
  My older brother teaches me: 'If you want to be attractive to girls, pay less attention to them. The more contempt you have for them, the more they like you. Don't let a woman twist you around her little finger!" He is right, my older brother, isn't he?
   I had never lost my head with girls. OK, they usually lose their heads with me.
   Why was I so stupid to fall in love with Tasha? Why on earth was I so filled with her, unable to think of anybody else? If she wasn't so desirable to me it would be easier to approach her. Besides, I know, all the boys in our class would be flattered to date her.
   It was the first evening party that year, in the home of Svetka Frolova, Tasha was there too, surrounded by the girls. She was so joyful, the loveliest girl in the world! That evening I was dreaming of inviting her to dance, but never dared. I envied the other boys, who did that easily! I was angry with her because she was making eyes at everybody. I tried to catch her eye; she didn't even look in my direction. I pretended I didn't see her, dancing with other girls, and for a while I really managed not to gawk at her! But the next moment when I looked for her, Tasha, who had been just talking casually with Anita, disappeared. The hall we were dancing in was not so vast. All the furniture was moved to the far corner and I could see everybody there. Tasha wasn't there anymore! I caught sight of Anita, and left my partner to dance alone. I asked Anita, a friend of Tasha's, about her.
   'She went a minute ago', Anita said. 'Try to catch her at the bus-stop. Turn to the right out of Svetka' house and go straight up the lane. It is a short walk from here.'
   I went out, making a firm decision not to be a coward anymore: 'I will own up to Tasha that I love her! Maybe she will answer that she doesn't: So what? At least I will know the truth!'
   I decisively went on until I saw the bus-stop under the green canopy of the bushy foliage. The wind was moving playfully the leaves of the trees that stood behind the bench. The darkness was washing the pale moon on the sky, half-hidden with cherry-colored clouds. And Tasha was there, sitting still on the wooden bench, holding her legs with her arms, her head lay on her knees. It seemed to me that she was crying. Why was she crying? Who was she waiting for?
   I approached her... Oh, I wished I could say a word, but all of them slipped my mind at once. Never before I had felt so stupid!
  Tasha lifted up her head, looked at me with her misty eyes.
  I stood there, staring at her, smiling helplessly. This smile on my face was the most foolish one, I suppose.
  Suddenly, she leapt up to her feet.
  'You are an idiot!' she shouted and: slapped me in the face. Then she walked away, crying:
   My first evening party with this class took place in the home of Svetka Phrolova yesterday.
   I am a new pupil. My family has recently moved to the capital city from the small provincial town near the sea. I had so many expectations for new and bright life with new bright opportunities and friends. I had so many dreams about future:
   The boring hot summer with no friends was over. On the First of September I was to begin my eighth grade in the new school.
   The school building was too large and uncomfortable, corridors too narrow, class-rooms too dusty and busy and children too noisy and unkind. I didn't like this school and these particular children. I decided that old friends were better than the new ones and made friends with the only girl, her name was Anita.
  The quiet blossoming town where I was born seemed to me now much friendlier. I was longing for my previous life, old school and the class.
   I paid attention to him on my first day in the new class. I wonder now, why, because there was nothing about him to attract me. Well, I saw he was tall and broad-shouldered in his fifteenth year, but I wouldn't even call him handsome. Did he attract me because he had taken over the class? Was it a cause? And I needed the protection from the foreign and cold world around me:
   He is a leader. The boys are looking up to him, no one is ever daring to argue with Sasha and all the girls admire him too. I noticed it, of course, but not on the first day. He was who began to talk to me, asking my name and where I came from.
   'Sasha is a clever boy, brilliant pupil', I was told by Anita later on.
  Was it the love at first sight? I didn't know. He attracted me and I couldn't explain, why.
   At the party in Svetka's home, a tape recorder was rumbling with loud music, some boys invited me to dance, but they all weren't him! I was dancing, secretly looking at Sasha from under somebody's shoulder. He was dancing too. He was dancing, by the way, with Anita, laughing a lot, making jokes with the boys and the girls. So cheerful, so attractive, he never paid attention to me! I saw myself as if from outside. "Sure, I look ugly in Sasha's eyes! My love is unrequited!' I decided bitterly.
   To be honest, I was also laughing a lot, talking about nothing with other boys, and looked maybe happy, with my cheeks blazing. But inside I was so sad. The whole evening I was waiting for him to invite me. The wait was in vain.
   Suddenly I knew nothing interesting would happen to me at that party. Since that moment I only wanted to go home. It was such a strong wish, I didn't want to dance any more or talk to anyone.
   So, I took my overcoat and made my way towards the door.
   Anita asked me: 'Are you going already, Tasha? Wouldn't you wait till the end of the party? We can go home together. It's dark outside, aren't you afraid?' 'No, I am not, I want to go. Goodbye', I answered her impatiently. I saw she was hurt by my rudeness but I couldn't help it.
  Then I walked quickly along the narrow alley, gloomy lit with opaque street lamps towards the bus stop. I sat on the bench with my legs tucked up. I felt so lonely, so melancholic. Buses were passing one by one, some of the drivers honked to me loudly. I didn't pay attention or even move, as if I wanted to stay at that bus-stop for ever.
  Suddenly I felt someone stood by the bench. I looked up. It was Sasha. Of course, it was Sasha! How long was he staying there? I didn't hear his steps, so silent they were. And now here he was: smiling widely.
  His smile was from ear to ear, really. So foolish. So idiotic! I understood it at once: it was the smile of his triumph!
  'He knows I fell head over heels in love with him! Sasha is laughing at me!'
  This thought made me sick.
   'You are an idiot!' I shouted and slapped him in the face with all my strength. Then I ran away...
   And today in the morning Anita told me that she was very angry with Sasha because the entire dance with her yesterday he had been asking questions about me!
  I wish I had an older sister to explain me things about boys! The boys are like aliens, such foreign beings, aren't they?
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