Genre: NA Contemporary
Word Count: 57,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
The only thing worse than callin’ Casey when I was drunk is the possibility that Mom found out about it. I wish I could remember what I said and who was in the room. I was an idiot for dialin’ the number at all. The last thing I need is for somethin’ stupid to happen that causes Mom to find her way back to the hospital. I can’t keep bein’ the reason she wants to kill herself. And what if bein’ myself causes someone else to pull a stunt like hers?
Jack's freshman year of college was supposed to be an escape from his parochial, poverty-stricken hometown in Appalachia. That is, until his mom tried to commit suicide right before the start of the first semester. If she hadn’t found him in bed with Casey—the only boy from home who ever came close to understanding him—Jack could’ve left town and never looked back.
Fitting in with strange people in a college town is easier said than done when faced with Mom’s constant reminders of his sinful habits and selfish decisions. It doesn’t help that Jack hasn’t slept since his mom kicked him out of her room at the psychiatric clinic, or that Casey hasn’t returned any of his calls since the “incident.” No, college isn't quite the escape Jack had imagined.
Feeling overwhelmed by familial guilt, and desperately trying to understand why he needs a guy who’s too stubborn to open up about what he wants, Jack finds that his mental state is heading in the same direction as his mom’s. The lower his self-esteem gets, the harder it becomes to fight off the pills calling his name. Jack must learn to set boundaries between the life he’s been dealt and the life he wants before he can patch up the situation with his mom and win back the boy he might love.
First 250 words:
I wouldn’t have recognized Mom if a nurse hadn’t led me to her room.
The first thing I noticed was her head. Her bushy hair was haphazard and choppy, like a careless nurse had thrown a chainsaw in her general direction. Her neck was kinked to the side, and her tongue sagged out of her mouth as she snored. Wrists cuffed to the bed, her once-long fingernails were clipped and filed down. The sheet was tangled ’round her ankles like she’d tried to kick it off before the drugs took effect. And don’t get me started on the gauze coverin’ her left forearm.
She wasn’t goin’ anywhere.
I stared through the glass door leadin’ to Mom’s room. The nurse said I’d be allowed in when she was more responsive, probably in a couple days. God, I wouldn’t’ve wanted to talk to her even if I was allowed. I could already hear the conversation: “Hi Mom, how’s it goin’?” “What do you care, Jack?” “Nice talkin’ to you too, Mom.”
I helped myself to the coffee and Styrofoam cups at the end of the hall, even though I wasn’t sure if they were free. I paced in front of Mom’s glass door, waitin’ for my coffee to cool and grumblin’ about how the nurses weren’t nice enough to offer me a chair. It wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t need to linger—if I wasn’t allowed inside, there was no reason to stare at mom’s patchwork head and dried-up tongue.