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Once upon a time there was a girl who applied for a Fancy Thing. It was a prestigious, exclusive Fancy Thing and a very, very long shot.

Almost everyone she knew (who did the same Things) applied, too, and one by one all these talented, hard-working doers-of-Things found out they did Not get the Fancy Thing. This always happened, almost no one gets the Fancy Thing. But when the dust settled, the girl was somehow still in the running.

She tried not to think about it, just in case she jinxed it or spooked it or crushed its fragile bones with the weight of her hopes. It was, after all, a very, very long shot. And, one day after many weeks of trying not to think about it, she came home to a thin envelope and found out that she too did Not get the Fancy Thing.

Officially, she was one of a few who Almost got the Fancy Thing. Almost.

She was surprised to find that she had been holding a part of her breath. She had been clenching a small piece of hope so very close to her chest. And as her han…

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