The Decision

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Moving to a new school can be difficult, no matter if you are by yourself or with another person. Every second feels like you’re center stage. Usually, other kids stare and make remarks to their friends, not knowing quite what to do. We have to move a lot because Dad’s job makes him travel, sometimes for 6 months, sometimes for 3 years. I can’t speak for the rest of us, but I for one, have gotten quite used to it.
The first day of the new school, midway through the first semester, it’s the usual routine, getting new lockers and schedules, and, most importantly, finding the club board to look for cool clubs to join. I, being the actress in the family, go straight to the sign that says “cheerleader tryouts”. I have never been a cheerleader but I think, why not!
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I see the sign saying, “It’s not too late to join Math Club!” I utter a quiet sigh and look for something else. Adjacent to that I see the cheerleader tryouts sign again. Perfect! I’m going to make this school experience exponentially better than the last.
That night I tell my family about my plan to try out for cheer. They look quite perplexed; cheerleading is not in my usual radius of activities. I know they realize why I’m doing it.
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I watch the clock in my remedial algebra class. Tick. Tick. Tick. Don’t get me wrong, school is important, it’s just not really my scene. The bell finally rings and I spring up, ready to finally go to cheer. Right before I’m out the door, one of the girls in my class says, “Whoa Jen, where are you off to?” I’ve been getting that all week! When will these people realize that we are more different than Elphaba and Galinda, and that’s after the first act.
“5, 6, 7, 8,” Alex, the cheer captain, counts, watching our every move. This is not my first audition, so I am totally in the zone, outshining almost everyone. People always tell me that I am the perfect triple threat. At the end, Alex says some final words before we all leave, “Hey guys, unfortunately I have to tell you that there is only one spot on the cheer team left and you guys are all fighting for it. If you don’t get in you can always reapply next year!” I turn away to hide my look of horror. What are we going to do now?
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After tryouts I have an amalgam of thoughts racing through my brain. Realistically speaking, the probability of me actually making the team is extremely low. I know that she is going to get the spot, I just know it. So next week, when I am not picked, I won’t be hurt because at least this time I really made an effort.
It wasn’t until later that I found out what really happened. Apparently, Alex couldn’t decide between Lilly and me whom to pick on the squad; both of us looked exactly the same to her. This wasn’t that uncommon. Everyone saw us, two identical twins, as basically the same person. We never really stayed long enough for people to truly see the acute differences between us. Although I must say, it’s really not that hard; Lilly loves theatre and preforming, whereas I’m perfectly content siting in my room trying to solve a really hard math problem. Anyway, Alex decided to do some digging and found out, to her dismay, that I used to be the president of math club and science club. She couldn’t have a former math nerd on her cheer squad, so she immediately chose Lilly.
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I see Alex coming towards me from across the cafeteria. She has a smile on her face so I think she’s coming to tell me good news. This immediately makes me sad because I start to worry about how Jen is going to take the bad news. We made a pact that whomever got the spot would be happy for the other person, but honestly, after a whole life of competing, I know that she will be hurt. Just as I had expected, Alex says, “Congrats Lilly! You’re on cheer!” In that second, I feel everything change. All eyes are on me in the cafeteria. It’s like I have just become the most popular girl in the school. Even the hottest boy on campus calls me over (using the right name… finally!) to talk to him. I can tell that this is going to be a great year, if I could only find Jen to tell her the good news…
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I find my way to the cafeteria, and sit with some of the new friends I’ve made. I look over to my right and see Lilly talking to Alex. It seems to be very important. I know that she is probably about to tell Lilly she made the cheer team but I secretly hope that’s not the case. All of a sudden, everything changes. The people at my table have strange looks on their faces, looks that are all too familiar. One of the guys says, “Gosh Jen, what makes you think a nerd like you could sit with us?” He said “you” like I was some kind of disease. I quickly get up and start to walk away, extremely confused. I walk up to one of the girls, who befriended me from the cheerleading team, and she just looks at me with disgust. It’s like I went from normal girl to complete nerd-freak in two seconds. “How can this be happening?” I think to myself.
Memories of my old school come rushing back, people laughing at me in the hallways, always calling me names. I try to find Lilly but there’s too many people surrounding her for me to get a word in. I hope she knows what’s gone wrong, if not, it’s going to be one long, horrible year…

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