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Text Wars
Author: Whitney Dineen

One

 

 

Serafina

 

 

As a Libra, I’m “all about the balance.” I’ve recently begun to sing my astrological motto to the tune of Meghan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass” because — why not? Every morning I stand on one foot with my eyes closed and both arms outstretched like I’m trying to touch the opposite walls in my airy SoHo loft. I do this for five minutes on each foot and like to keep myself entertained in the process.

The problem with being the scale of the zodiac — our symbol really is a scale — is that other star signs often have a hard time grasping a Libra’s need for equilibrium. While we all have our quirks, this fundamental necessity for balance can be a real bear. Especially when others don’t play along, which is a lot of the time. Since I started making my living with my Live for Your Star Sign app, I’ve butted up against all sorts of people who couldn't care less about harmony. But harmony is the secret to my success. That, and sweet treats to keep my creative juices flowing all day long (and sometimes into the night).

Understanding trends and knowing how to position your app as the one with the answers to life’s biggest problems (all for the bargain price of $4.99/month) is a full-time gig, and I’ve sunk so much time and money into this business, I need it to succeed, no matter what I have to do to make that happen.

As I get to the part of the song where I belt out how I’m bringing booty back, my front door slams open and the best assistant/programmer/neighbor to ever inhabit the body of a fifteen-year-old girl charges into my inner domain, upsetting the tranquility of my early morning routine. I lose my balance and tip sideways, landing on the bean bag chair to my right with an unceremonious thump.

“Sera!!! You won’t believe it!” Charley yells while waving a piece of paper in the air and hopping around like her shredded jeans are on fire. “I got into Yale!”

“Are you serious?!” I ask, scrambling to get up, but somehow managing to get caught in the zipper of the faux fur cover.

Charley gives me a look of concern. “You okay?”

“I’m good.” Miraculously, I manage to free myself and stand up. “Commence celebrating.”

We jump up and down and squeal before I ask the all-important question, “What did your parents say? Will they let you go?” I hold my breath while working to contain my excitement. I’m worried they’re going to say no, as their daughter is only fifteen.

Having said that, Charley is a certifiable genius who took the GED and graduated from high school in the middle of her sophomore year … during her fourth suspension. She has a penchant for repeatedly breaking into the school’s computer system and renaming the students according to her personal thoughts about them. For instance, her arch nemesis, Madison Parker, most recently became Butt-Face McGee. Her crush Jacob Fein was awarded the moniker, Hunky Pants McHottiestein.

I know I shouldn’t find it funny. I am, after all, an adult, but at twenty-eight it’s pretty easy for me to slip back into teenage Serafina and want to stick it to all the mean kids. While Charley and I found the monikers highly entertaining (not to mention justified), Principal Fox didn’t share our enjoyment.

“My mom says I can’t go anywhere until I prove I’m mature enough to handle myself,” Charley groans while collapsing on my overstuffed butter-colored sofa. Her mother, Martha Jenkins, is an esteemed heart surgeon with a limited sense of humor. In fact, now that I think about it, I can’t actually recall the sound of her laugh, which is pretty shocking since they’ve been my neighbors for three years.

“What does your dad say?”

Lorne Jenkins is a play-by-the-rules circuit court judge who is always at odds with his fiery daughter. As her advanced calculus teacher Mr. Banks pointed out on multiple occasions, “A bored Charley is a bad Charley.” Not a particularly kind thing to say about a teenager, but then again, Charley had just hacked into the school’s computer system and renamed said teacher Bad Breath Banks.

As much as Lorne and Martha love their offspring (and they really do), they don’t “get” her, which is probably why she started hanging out with me in the first place.

Charley’s eyes twinkle. “Dad says that if I can keep my job with you and stay out of trouble, he’ll let me start next year when I’m sixteen.” She looks up at me hopefully and asks, “Can you keep me employed for that long? Please say yes, because if you don’t, I will probably accidentally hack into the government’s computer system and rename all of the senators or something.”

I sit down next to her and reply, “I’m pretty sure my Live for Your Star Sign app will keep us both busy for at least that long.” In addition to Dress for Your Star Sign, Eat for Your Star Sign, Work for Your Star Sign, and Decorate for Your Star Sign, we’re in the process of adding a Date for Your Star Sign feature. I tell Charley excitedly, “We’ve had over a hundred local test subjects sign up for our trial dating feature, can you believe it?”

“Of course I can!” she says enthusiastically — I love this girl’s raw excitement about life. “When will we know if it works?”

“As soon as you upload everyone’s info, we’ll set the algorithm loose and see what happens.”

Looking around at my silvery grey walls with sharp pops of colorful artwork, Charley replies, “I’ll do it today. I hope you’re going to fill out a questionnaire too. God knows you have no social life.”

“I am. I figure it would be irresponsible of me not to participate.”

“Plus, you’ll finally get to go on some dates.” My young friend always tries to push me into the dating world, which, frankly, has not been on my radar at all. When you’re busy launching the most comprehensive lifestyle app to ever hit the market, other aspects of your life suffer. My social life, for instance, is practically non-existent.

Charley pulls at a handful of micro-braids that frame her gorgeous brown face. “I think your letter of recommendation is what got me into Yale. You were such a superstar when you were there.”

“My endorsement only got you so far, my friend. I’m pretty sure your near-perfect SAT and ACT scores are the basis of your admission. Yale is big on prodigies.” Before I can comment further, my phone rings. Not recognizing the number, I pick it up and say, “May your stars be in alignment today. This is Serafina.” I know, that’s a little out there, but trust me, this stuff works.

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