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Someone once said that it’s choice, not chance, that determines our destiny. But it was hard for me to process who would ever choose to find what I found.

It was chance. 

Choice Vs. Chance

Someone once said that it’s choice, not chance, that determines our destiny. My head made the choice to end things with Matty. But my heart…

…my heart was still waiting for the chance that my head might…reconsider.

Did I screw up my destiny? Or was my fate supposed to stink?

But it was settled. I was going to the dance with Jake. With special guest star Tamara. With T by my side, a good time at the dance was all but in the cards…contingent upon one more thing. If I wasn’t going to let fate influence my decisions, I wouldn’t let some vile letter do it either. It was time to put my past where it belonged. In the past.

Unlike Matty, Jake wasn’t afraid to be a dork. And I was ready to dork out with him. I was living in the moment. And I didn’t know if it was by chance or by choice. But I didn’t care. It was time for me…to bust a move.

On the dance floor, Tamara found out that Ricky had been her missed connection. I told Jake I’d explain it later, but in truth, the story was short. Tamara had connected with the guy she thought was missing. Which made me wonder if I was still missing the guy I had been connected to?

And then I stopped thinking.  And I let myself live in the moment.  Everything with Jake was easy. Everything was as it was meant to be. Cuz finally the other guy I had been pining over was all but a distant…

…forty feet away.

Matty had come to find me at the dance.  Clusterf*ck #1.  And…he saw me in a lip-lock with Jake.  Clusterf*ck #2.  We were speaking in code and he wanted to know if it was too late.  Too late to be with me.  I was confused. I didn’t know if I should listen to my head…or my heart. So I went with my hand….that slipped into Jake’s.

One door to my heart had closed. Which meant a new one could open. And Jake was more than welcome to walk through it. 

Seeing Jenna

Somewhere along the way, I was trying so hard to fit in that I lost myself. New Jenna was more visible, but I couldn’t see Old Jenna in her anymore.

And now that I realized it, I owed it to the old invisible girl in me to be bold again. Asking Jake to the formal was just the first step. I was leaving my Renaissance and heading into my Golden Age. Cuz I wasn’t “that girl” anymore…and I wasn’t “Matty’s girl” either. I was Jenna Hamilton. 

Take Care

“As you are now, you could disappear and no one would notice.” I wish it were true. I had assumed my rep as a suicide case was all but dead, but my stigma was alive…and kicking me in the ass. Now everyone could read the carefrontation letter and take part in humiliating me even more.

Jake, of course, came to my rescue. Even though I had turned down his winter formal invite, I could still depend on him to make me feel like a normal human being and not a communal punching bag.

But…it was weird. Matty still hadn’t told Jake about us…

And apparently, Matty didn’t want to even go to the dance anymore. How could I be Matty’s girl when I was still his secret? Because I wasn’t Matty’s girl, I was “that girl.” Who never stood a chance of going to the formal. A freak in a fancy dress was still a freak.

While I was reeling about Matty, Tamara found out that she was Ricky Schwartz’s fourth invite. She was ready to write him off. Tamara did deserve better. And she wasn’t the only one.

I had taken great care to be the daughter my mom always wanted and the girl Matty wanted to be with. But along the way, I lost sight of myself. It was time to take care of me and I wasn’t gonna sit around and cry about it. Okay. Maybe a little.

Doubtful

The Matty investigation was inconclusive. But if I was a judge…

I’d throw his case outta court.

Reasonable Doubt

So Tamara didn’t write the letter. It was a bittersweet discovery. Okay, more sweet than bitter, but even though it meant my best friend didn’t totally hate me, it also meant I still didn’t know who did.

Was it possible that Matty wrote it?

If Tamara was right and he was molding me in private so he could take me out in public…then he saw me as someone who was worth putting all this effort into. Sure, it was a backhanded compliment, but in a screwed up way, maybe it was kind. Okay. Maybe that would just be totally douchey. Possibly with a hint of misguided sweetness?

While Tamara made a good case with her “Law and Order” logic, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around Matty writing the letter. I mean…He was a remedial speller. And that was proof enough for me to exonerate him 

Bitter or Sweet Sixteen?

In the movie “Sixteen Candles”, it took her awhile, but Molly Ringwald figured it out. Lesson learned: you shouldn’t be afraid to be who you are, because even hot guys will like you if you like yourself. Clearly, I had been going about things all wrong. How was I supposed to be accepted by everybody else when I hadn’t even accepted myself?

“Jenna, as you are now, you could disappear and no one would notice.” Truth was, sometimes I wanted to disappear. But I wasn’t going to.

I thought sixteen was setting itself up to be the worst year of my life, but I was born at 7:32 p.m., which meant…I was still fifteen.  My bad day- was just that—a bad day and the end of an era cuz Matty wanted to be more than my friend.

As far as I was concerned, fifteen could suck it. Because sixteen…well, it was starting off pretty damn good. 

Best Friends For…Never?

I never thought that Tamara and I would end up where we were. Tamara and I argued sometimes, but in all the years we’d been friends, we’d never had a huge nails-out, eye-scratching fight. But…I kind of wished we had that instead of the iceberg-tundra thing we had going on. And I didn’t know if we would ever thaw out.

I should’ve been mad at her for writing the heinous letter, but I wasn’t. I was still…in shock.

What had I done that made her write me that letter? How long had she had all these issues with me? The letter was not a random act. Everything it said had been seriously thought out.  Our friendship was over.  Or was it? After avoiding me for days, Tamara looked right at me, like she was totally open to my face-mail. My dad was right, she was throwing me a birthday bone.  Or not…it just was a momentary mirage in the desert of dissing.

I used to feel bad for David Shapiro, eating by himself every day…until I found out he wasn’t really eating alone. He had imaginary friends. Which, theoretically, was like six to ten more than I had.

Basically, I was stuck with Valerie- my counselor.  And her birthday “rap” –while well-intentioned- was about the nail in my bad birthday coffin.   Up until that moment, the rumors of my death wish had been greatly exaggerated.

I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. I had just received another gift…of the monthly variety. And since Tamara was the keeper of the back-up pants, there was no way I was getting my hands on them.

Birthday Bashed

There were a million reasons why I didn’t want to get out of bed. But apparently the universe wasn’t gonna let me sleep.

After throwing a hardschool kegger, I had over three hundred friends. But I wasn’t deluded by my surge in popularity. I knew the difference between real friends and virtual ones. My real friends weren’t talking to me. Although to be fair, Ming couldn’t. Literally.

While Ming was suffering from the kissing disease, I was sick over a kiss. A drunken lip slip that had cost me Tamara’s friendship. And after alienating Matty and possibly Jake, my friendscape was pretty barren.

But making new friends wasn’t going to be a problem. I had the interweb.

…Which was full of creeps. If the day ever comes where I do want to see a random dude’s penis over a video chat, someone please just shoot me.

If my life had an escape button, I would’ve checked out for the day. There was only one small problem. It was my goddamn birthday.

And there was nothing happy about it. It was just another crap day in two thousand suck.

Forgive or…please forget.

In my attempt to remember the night, I’d discovered why some things were convenient to forget. My head was throbbing. But it wasn’t just from lack of hydration, it was also from excessive humiliation. And the question still remained: had I attacked Matty with my tongue? In more ways than one? And did I ruin his shoes?

No. F-ing. Way.

I KISSED RICKY SCHWARTZ?!

This was bad. This was bad bad. This was the Colossus of bad. They were going to build a giant freaking statue commemorating my horror and terrible decision-making and unintended bestie betrayal. And then they’d probably build another. Whoever “they” were.

And it was public. Who knew how many people saw the picture…not to mention the actual event? The kiss was just an additional thing I could add to the list of reasons why I’d potentially just screwed up everything with Matty. But for now, Matty could wait. Tamara couldn’t. I had to talk to her before doing anything else.

The kiss didn’t mean anything. I didn’t even remember it. If only I could make her forget it, too…

…she’d understand, right?

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