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Girl Code: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
In this week?s Girl Code, everyone is faced with a tough choice.

Lissa

September 2007
Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

8:13 PM. The view is fantastic. Instinctively, I reach out to my side for a hand to hold, finding no one.

10:00 PM. Who said solo trips were a good idea again?

Present

5:47 AM. Who said living solo was a good idea again?

6:03 AM. An incoming call. My two older brothers, Darren and Benji, have built up a habit of calling me ridiculously early, "because at this hour, you’re so grumpy it's hilarious." They're coming over tonight for our weekly sushi and cake date. I nod my head, forgetting I'm on the phone.

7:14 AM. It's a Saturday, so I pack up and walk to the gym two blocks away. Boxing is my release. There is timing, precision, agility, footwork.

7:45 AM. "Jab. Straight. Jab straight. Upper, hook, straight, jab, straight. Wave, and right hook. Good, good, good."

8:50 AM. Toweling off. When I am here, I don't think about whether I've locked the door at home, or how many times I've washed my hands. The moment I walk in, my OCD waits patiently by the door.

9:10 PM. Darren and Benji are here. Tonight, it's vanilla crepe cake and tamago. "If you hate it so much, baby girl, then leave." "Yeah, just quit. Nobody's going to second guess you. Your boss is a tool anyway."

"Benji!" I hit him with a throw pillow. "It's my job. I haven't even been there half a year."

"You could at least do something with your life then. Your world is literally work, home, work, home. It's a travesty."

"Maybe. If I had a to-do list."

And maybe I already had one... and maybe it was time I whipped it out.

Rae

I drown out the sounds of my Ate Sam whining on the phone about her "big fight" with her boyfriend and collapse on my bed, uniform and all. Today was a rough day, to say the least. I just had to run into him after photography club. I think I saw him wave, but I couldn't find it in me to face him. You can't blame me—it's been only a few weeks since... Ugh. Screw this. I need to tell him. I grab a pen from my side table and start writing:

Dear James,

Sucks how just writing your name reminds me of the look on your face when we broke up. You looked like I had ripped out your heart and thrown it onto the ground, and it felt like my heart had been ripped out, thrown away, and stomped on a million times, too. But you know what's worse? It's that I had to pretend like I didn't care. Even though I did, and I still do. Way more than you'll ever know. I'm sorry.

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Rae

P.S. I still miss you every day.

I read andre-read the letter until I know every word by heart. Then I crumple it up and toss it into the trash, where it belongs.

It's better this way.

Journal and cup

Charlie

03/11/2016, Friday

Graduation is happening soon, and one huge chapter of my life is coming to a close. Like in every happy ending, I expect to ride off into the sunset and never look back, but that's not exactly the case right now. Having to say goodbye to a place I've spent more than a decade in leaves me conflicted.

I’m overjoyed, yes. I'm more than pleased with the mounds of workload, which produced my authentic sleepless-nights-crafted designer eye bags. I'm proud of the blood, sweat, and tears brought about my frustration to constantly learn new skills for basketball(or any sport, actually). I would go through all that adversity again now that I know its impact on the person I've become. I turned out okay, didn't I?

But despite these joys, I can't help but feel heartbroken. This chapter is much bigger than me—it's about the many people who took part in the creation of my identity. Though some of these people weren't exactly good for me, I’m thankful that they have pushed me to go past my limits. From these faces I hated seeing, I realized that borders are only in our heads, and that we’re only confined by the standards we set for ourselves.

So if we can explore both sides of the spectrum we imagined—and even beyond—why shouldn't we do it?

This is what I'm ready for, and what I promise myself I will do: I will constantly expand my spectrum. I will not stop until I’m satisfied. I will keep going.

My heart may be breaking as it leaves the comfort of the familiar, but it's brimming with so much hope for the unknown.

Sam

Sam: I just met the cutest guy in the world!  Lissa: Another one???  Lissa: Deets, NOW.  Sam: remember KC? I bumped into her with her office mates. He was one of them. Mike. God he is SO CUTE. We talked for a good 10 minutes. Almost forgot KC was there lol

Sam: Omg am I a bad person?? :( I’ve been fighting with Ben all day and meeting this cutie made my day.  Lissa: Definitely. You are going straight to hell, babe :p  Lissa: I’m happy for you but you know you can’t play this game forever.

Sam: Ugh. I know. I don’t know if it’s just me but all these cute guys are popping up everywhere.  Lissa: We always want what we can’t have :(

Lissa: What happened with the two of you anyway? You guys were so good the past few months.  Sam: I don’t know honestly. I’m maturing too quickly or our worlds are changing… We’re on such different pages now, it’s so hard to relate.  Sam: He’s all about college and video games and partying. We don’t even go out anymore because I’m so busy working. We don’t even talk when we’re alone in the car.

Sam: I’ve been thinking about breaking up but I just can’t do it. I always wanna try a little bit longer… see if something is gonna change or maybe the spark will come back  Lissa: You know I wouldn’t normally say this but  Lissa: I think you should break up…  Lissa: I don’t know what’s gotten into me. But go. Be happy. Do something crazy.

Lissa: Life is too short to stay unhappy.  Sam: Damn who are you  Sam: I wish it were that simple though. To just end.  Sam: We have 3 years behind us and most of it was so good... but we’re just cruising now.

Sam: I tried talking to him about my feelings a few times but he keeps telling me that all relationships slow down at 3 years. And that I’m naïve if I don’t want to accept that. Who says that, right?  Lissa: Unhappy people. Unhappy people say that.  Lissa: Let me know how it goes tomorrow, ok?

Check back next week for the next installment. Are you excited to read more about what happens to Lissa, Rae, Charlie, and Sam? Click below to see what you've missed.

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Lissa, Rae, Charlie, Sam
We're writing for the brand new YA fiction series, Girl Code.
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