Shift 44: Flea Market

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During winter break, Britney took me to look at flats in San Myshuno. It felt like spring, and we didn’t even need jackets.

Through the yoga community that runs YOTO, some people open up their homes to YOTO grads when they go to college. That’s how we came to find out about the flats.

I liked the apartments. They all sort of looked the same after a while. Couples lived in some, and young families lived in others. The one I liked best had a musician living in it. It was a big loft in the art district, which is a short walk to the university. The woman living there is a violinist with the San Myshuno Symphony Orchestra. She’s only about four years older than me, actually, which is kind of neat.

“Wasn’t that place beautiful?” Britney said. “Much better than staying in the dorms, right?”

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I don’t know. I was kind of thinking that the dorms might be easier. But Aadhya feels like it works out better for YOTO kids to live in homes after we graduate. She says, for the most part, we already develop all the communal-living skills that dorms require while we’re living at YOTO. What we really need is to develop home-living skills, so that when we graduate college, we’ll be better prepared to live on our own. We can stay in the dorm, for sure, if we want. And some YOTO kids do for the first few years, and then move into house-shares. But Aadhya thinks for some kids, like me, it’s better to start by sharing a flat.

I’m thinking about it.

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I’ve got a few months before I need to make up my mind.

After we looked at the flats, Britney and I hung out in the park. They were holding a flea market there. I couldn’t believe the junk for sale.

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Adriene showed up.

“Are you following me or something?” I joked. “Or maybe you live here!” It seems like every time I’m at this park, I run into her.

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“Same wave length!” she said. “It’s like we’re surfing the same universal waves, right? Hang ten!”

Sofia showed up, too.

“My mom told me you got into USM,” she said. “I’m going there, too! Maybe we’ll have some classes together.”

“That would be cool,” I told her. “What are you majoring in?”

“Music. And you?”

“Botany.”

“Botany!” yelled Adriene. “Go trees!” She really is funny.

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“Hey, squirt. I see you still got the same taste in friends.” It was Donnie.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him.

“Same as you. Scoping out flats. Emiliano took me.”

“You see any you like?” I asked him.

“I don’t know,” Donnie said. “I might start out in the dorms.”

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Britney gave Donnie and me a ride home. We sat together in the back seat.

“I’m not read to live with a family,” he said. “Or even have a room-mate. It’s just weird. Too much baggage.”

He said he liked the way we lived at YOTO, sharing a dorm-like room for sleeping, taking turns cooking and cleaning. He liked that there’s always someone around, and it’s easy to avoid one-to-one conversations or being alone.

“When you live with somebody, you’re either just with them, or alone. It’s weird. I don’t think I can cope. I’d make a good frat boy.”

He said it, not me. But I had to admit he seemed to have good self-knowledge.

I like being alone, and I’d rather be with one person than a group. I think sharing a flat would work out well for me.

Life’s weird. Move on, move through it, and things happen. Sometimes, the things that happen are the things you need. And even when they’re not, if you just keep moving on, moving through it, you might get to the things you need.

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Shift 37: Verbal

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People still call me Jazz. I like it. I introduce myself as “J.D.” It sounds cool: Jay-dee. Nobody calls me Jenny, but that’s how I’m listed in the track and field team roster.

Name: Jenny Trevalyn | Event: Women’s Mile | Class: Jr.

I’m training all the time, every free moment, except when I’m studying, sleeping, or eating.

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Donnie’s been training a lot, too. Early in the semester, he said we’ve got to train hard if we hope to get our verbals this year, and if we don’t get verbal commitments this spring, chances of signing with a college next year are slim to none.

Xavier and Nadja are athletes, too. Xavier plays football and basketball, and Nadja swims. They’re not planning on getting athletic scholarships, though. Nadja is aiming for an academic scholarship, and Xavier’s going for the ROTC. Either that or studying at community college for the first two years and working part-time.

Still, they like to work out with Donnie and me on days we don’t have practice or meets. All semester, we’ve been joining up at the San Myshuno gym.

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I’m still doing most of the cooking at YOTO. I’ve been researching nutrition and training diets. Right now, I’m into peppers, tofu, and brown rice. It’s not as boring as it sounds, and it’s packed with protein and B vitamins.

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Early in the season, my coach was really working with me on the splits. He had me on the treadmill, and he’d programmed in the rate for the work out. That way, I could feel what it was like to run splits at various times.

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Donnie and I made a pact with each other to stay positive.

“Look,” he said, “we’re not gonna be on our game if we’re doubting ourselves and our future all the time. Promise me you won’t bring me down with worrying, and I’ll promise you the same.”

It’s a good thing we made that deal because Luiza sometimes gets worried. Marquis is so smart that he knows he’ll get into the college of his choice, and he’ll get Pell grants and loans to help with whatever scholarships don’t cover. And Xavier’s got his plan down. But Luiza, she worries. She doesn’t even know what she wants to do.

Aadhya tells her she doesn’t have to know, and she doesn’t have to worry, and if she wants to take a year off, she can work at YOTO while she looks into college options. But Luiza worries anyway.

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“I think I’ll be a librarian,” she said one evening.

“That would be so sweet,” said Marquis. “You could recommend my books to all the angtsy teens.”

“What books are those?” she asked.

“The ones I’m going to write.”

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Everyone laughed but me. Marquis will be a great writer, I’m sure. He’s got more imagination and greater insight than almost anyone I know.

Around mid-February, Donnie told me he’d gotten an email from the University of San Myshuno wrestling coach.

“He wants to take me to lunch,” Donnie said. “He said he wants to tell me about the program.”

This was such good news. Two weeks later, he met the coach at a coffee shop and the coach gave him the verbal agreement. “Stay healthy, keep up the training, keep the weight in your bracket, and we’ll sign you in the fall.”

Donnie’s got it made.

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In March, Nadja got her SAT scores. They rock.

“Ninety-ninth percentile?” she said. She was in shock. “Can you believe it? It’s a mistake, right?”

But it wasn’t a mistake, and now she can pretty well write her way into any college she wants.

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Donnie and Nadja tried to downplay their successes. They didn’t want to rub it in, and Luiza had been freaking out more and more.

Aadhya took Donnie and Nadja aside whenever she wanted to plan with them or whenever they need to let loose with a little bit of excitement about their futures.

As for me, I just kept chasing the mile record. It’s elusive. I set a few track records. I kept winning races. But I couldn’t get closer to the high school women’s mile record. I tried to keep my spirits up, all through March, when I didn’t hear from any coaches. All through the beginning of April.

I kept training. My coach kept telling me he saw college coaches checking me out at meets. I kept feeling positive, even though inside I was a nervous wreck. Never once did I let myself say or even think, “What if…” But you know, I had to keep every single “what if” at bay.

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Then, in mid-April, the coach from University of San Myshuno called. She said she’d been watching me. She liked my style, my attitude, my level of fitness.

“I can tell you’re not even close to the top of your pinacle,” she said, “and I like what I see already. You’ll get there, J.D. And when you do, I want you to get there with us.”

“Is this my verbal?” I asked. I was so nervous.

She just laughed. We had a few more meetings. She showed me around the university, took me to lunch, introduced me to the head of the botany department, showed me the track (which I’d been running on every time it was open for public running, anyway), and then she said, “Jenny Trevalyn, the University of San Myshuno would be delighted if you would run track for us. We know you’ll be breaking that collegiate women’s mile record, and when you do, we want you to be on our team. Now this is your verbal, and we hope to sign you in the fall.”

So, I’ve got to stay healthy. I’ve got to stay fit. I’ve got to get myself into record-breaking form. And if I do all that, it looks like I’ll be running for USM the year after next.

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