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Happy Chapter 5

by michaeld

But I know I wouldn’t have found that day here on this miserable planet… Trust me. This was my last resort.


The school bell rang, dismissing all of the students to first period. Josh and Laura walked hand in hand down the hall as they did every morning. As they neared Laura’s first class they embraced in a final hug and said their goodbyes.

After dropping her off, Josh slowly sauntered down the hall and up the stairs to his class mumbling to himself something about how much he dreaded school. Other students were rushing by, slamming lockers, dropping and picking up books, having small talk. He knew that in real life they were moving pretty fast, but for Josh it seemed as if they were all moving in slow motion.

He looked around to examine his surroundings. There were so many people here. So many faces that he didn’t even recognize, yet he felt he knew them. That’s what always bothered him about school. You go to a giant building, learn things that you probably won’t use again and right in the room next door, there are so many people you don’t even know. Every day that you walk down the hall you brush shoulders with a stranger. He always felt so puzzled whenever he pondered this idea.

He focused his attention back to where he was heading. Although he was in a crowd, he still felt so alone. This feeling of loneliness only made him feel even more alone.

Finally making it to the door, he pulled it open just as the late bell rang.

“You’re late,” Was the teacher’s stern remark.

Josh sighed and sauntered over to his desk while kids in the back of the room snickered and made snide remarks. He just looked back at them with a glare and turned back around to face the front of the classroom. He could already tell today was going to be a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”.

By the end of second period, Josh was ready to kill himself.

“Hey,” he sighed to Laura.

“Hey, how you holdin up?” was her quiet reply.

“Not too great,” Josh whined back.

“Hmmm…. Yeah, me too.” Laura said in a daze.

They were silent for the rest of the walk to third period. Both of their classes were near the courtyard so that’s where they headed. They walked through the cold air, hands clasped together as they always were, wishing they didn’t have to go to class. Finally they reached the fork in the road where they had to go different directions to get to different classes. Before they went their separate ways, they hugged each other, wished each other good luck until lunch and then walked off.

Josh slowly dragged his way to third period. Journalism. This was by far his favorite class. He was able to write anything he wanted and get filled in on the latest gossip going around the school, killing two birds with one stone. In this class, he was able to be himself and actually talk. It was one of the only times that he didn’t feel antisocial.

As he walked through the door, different students welcomed him with inside jokes, hugs and yells of “Josh!”. He smiled and greeted them back with smiles and laughs. He slung his backpack onto the floor and jumped onto the couch, landing in a comfortable position.

Slowly, but surely, everyone around the room started gathering towards the center of the general center of the space to hear what the teacher had to say. The teacher just went describing what the day was going to be like. Everyone just needed to finish his or her stories, photography, page designs and columns to go in the next issue of the school news magazine.

The teacher called Josh over to discuss what he needed to work on.

“Since you were absent all of last week, you will be doing the story on why you believe drugs should be legalized.” Explained Mrs. Smith.

“Ohh.. ok. Sure, yeah I’ll do that,” Josh replied with a sunken face.

“Oh, and it’s due tomorrow,”

He dragged his feet across the floor over to the computer that he usually sat at and logged into his school account. He then opened up a fresh Word document and stared at the little cursor flashing on and off, not even knowing where to start on this column.

He absolutely hated the subject of drugs no matter what circumstance it was in or how you phrased it; he hated them. He didn’t used to, but it he had personal things in his life that led to his hatred of them. One of them being he lost two friends to them.

Well, they were still alive, but he still lost them. He and a girl named Ashley used to hang out all the time. They would go to the movies together, talk about guys, do homework, go jogging around the town lake, do practically everything together.

A few weeks before any of all of that happened, they didn’t even know they existed on the face of the planet. Josh was just best friends with Ashley’s brother, Jonah. They would hang out during school and at gymnastics on Wednesdays, but nothing more than that. Then one day he finally went to Jonah’s house and met Ashley. Their friendship sprung to life from there.

After Jonah started going off and finding new friends and losing touch with Josh, Josh turned to Ashley. It started by just saying “hey” when the saw each other in the halls which then turned into eating lunch together and copying each other’s homework. Finally it ended up just hanging out almost every day after school.

A year went by and Josh finally asked Ashley out. She of course said yes and they had a thing for quite a few months. Towards the end of their relationship, they just felt awkward, as they were best friends before they dated and now that they were dating it just felt awkward for them. They were walking through the halls to their next period after orchestra and they both had told each other that they wanted to talk. Soon they found out they both wanted to talk about calling off the whole dating thing and to just be friends. Since they both wanted it, no tears were shed.

After seeing how good of a friend Ashley was to him, Josh felt he needed to tell her something really important. He would try to tell her at lunch or on the field, but there was always something to distract him or something he could make up an excuse to himself to not tell her. Eventually, Josh’s conscience got the best of him and he decided to tell Ashley what he was hoping to tell her ever since they first met each other.

One hot, summer day, the school’s orchestra decided to go on a trip to an amusement park. Laura and Josh paired up with one another and decided to ride all of the rides they could. They succeeded in that and Ashley only threw up twice and Josh, zero times. They pigged out on all of the funnel cakes they wanted, all of the fast Chinese food they passed by, and drank all of the sodas there were in the world. None of these things could satisfy the deep, empty hole that Josh felt inside. The hole that would be filled once he said what he felt he needed to say.

On the bus ride home from an orchestra trip, Josh pulled out his phone and started a texting conversation with Ashley.

Josh: Hey! (7:00 PM)

Ashley: Hey (7:03 PM)

Josh: How ya doin up thurr in da front of da bus? (7:04 PM)

Ashley: Oh, ya no… da usual. Don’t rlly have any1 to talk to but it k. I have you xD (7:06 PM)

Josh: Kewl kewl…. Hey can I tell you something? (7:08 PM)

Ashley: OMG yes! You shouldn’t even have to ask! That’s what I’m here for dudeeeee! (7:08 PM)

Josh: Ok it’s rlly hard to say it… (7:10 PM)

Ashley: Just say it! It’s ok. I will love you know matter what you did or who you are or whatever you want to tell me :P (7:11 PM)

Josh: … Ok, well… agghh it’s too hard! <(that’s what she said lolololol) But… I think I’m bi… I mean, I don’t want to be, but I am and I don’t think I can change it (7:18 PM)

Ashley: Awwww! I’m so proud of you! Why didn’t you tell me this while we were dating? We coulda had a threesome with a hot guy… :P Don’t lie, you were thinking it LOL (7:20 PM)

Josh: haha yeah totally! (7:24 PM)

Ashley: Nice Nice :L (7:30 PM)

After that, their conversation just ended. Josh didn’t feel like responding to anymore texts so he didn’t.

Once hopping off of the charter bus that the school provided for their trip, Ashley waited for Josh to get off and they hugged for what seemed like forever. After letting go, she saw that he was crying.

“Awww! Don’t cry, you’ll make me cry!” exclaimed Ashley.

“Too late, already am,” replied Josh with a little laugh.

They both chuckled and got their backpacks and violins from the trunk of the bus. From then on, their relationship was twenty times stronger.

A year went by and Ashley enrolled in high school. She was a little “fishie” (what upperclassmen called the freshman) in the midst of the vast, vast ocean of teenagers. She liked that feeling of being one small part of a huge whole. Josh didn’t really know much about her social life there, as he wasn’t there with her. He only knew what she had told him and as far as what she had said so far, it sounded pretty awesome.

Sadly, he didn’t know what went on behind the scenes in her life. He didn’t know that she had been caught up in the life of drugs and was failing almost every single one of her classes. The worst part was, was that she didn’t care whatsoever about school or friends really; all she cared about was if she had enough money for the next big buy she was going to invest in.

Pretty soon her life of bliss was cut off by the authorities. She had always told herself that she would never be caught, but sadly she was. She had bought four pot brownies from a local dealer, ate two of them and gave the other two away. One of the girls didn’t realize that marijuana made you high so she ran to the hospital thinking she was dying, when in reality she was just having her first drug experience.

Once at the hospital, her friend told the employees and the cops there everything that had happened from the very beginning; starting with how she got the magic brownies from Ashley to how she ended up sitting in that hospital bed. She had to go to one counseling session and stay at home for a week. Ashley was kicked out of school for the rest of the year and her parents also grounded her for the rest of the year. That’s when Ashley’s life of trouble started.

She went from using pot, to experimenting with her parents’ prescription drugs. Her dad was a surgeon so he had every kind of prescription drug imaginable in the downstairs medicine cabinet. Sadly, his daughter took advantage of that fact.

Soon enough, Josh realized that Ashley hadn’t been to school in a while and also found out about some of the things that had been going on with Ashley so he naturally became curious. He was wondering what was going on and how Ashley was doing. All he head heard was that she had gotten in trouble on a school trip for possession of drugs and was grounded, expelled and had her phone taken away for the rest of the school year. It sucked.

He had no way of contacting her so his only resources were seventh grade girl gossip. Most of these stories were extremely dramatic and the truth was twisted more than just a bit, but it was better than nothing.

Once she got bored of the same high all of the time, Ashley moved on to bigger and better drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines. This messed up her mind completely and made her lose connection with reality. She began to scream, yell and just be plain angry all of the time. She swore in all of her sentences and her speech was a little bit impaired, even when sober.

Her parents enrolled her in a rehab group at a well-known counseling center near the center of town. She went there every Wednesday and Friday. It didn’t help her at all and she just ended up getting more drugs behind the building from other kids enrolled in the same program. Because of this she didn’t complain to her parents at all for having to go.

About a year passed by when Josh became the “fishie” and Ashley was a sophomore. Now he could really see what was going on in her life. At the beginning of the year, they sat at lunch every day just like they used to in middle school and things seemed to be going pretty smoothly. But he couldn’t just judge a book by its cover; he had a hunch that something more was going on. There was no talk of drugs around him or any trouble with Ashley so he kept his mouth shut and was pleasantly surprised. Sadly, he had accidentally set his hopes up too high.

As it neared towards winter break, Ashley kept on forgetting that Josh was there and would let little words about drugs and her dealer slip out while he was around. He pointed this out and she kept her mouth shut for just a little bit longer. Soon after that, she just gave up and talked about whatever came to mind at that moment, not even caring if Josh was there or not.

She would openly text her dealer and talk with her other druggie friend about what they wanted that day while Josh just sat there depressed by what he was seeing. He couldn’t believe that she was doing this. It had never really hit him that she actually did drugs and that they existed. To him, they were just something that you were told to stay away from and not to do.

He remembered when he and Ashley would have talks about drugs, sex, alcohol, anything bad that you could do at such a young age and they swore to each other that they would never do any of them until they were of age. It tore him apart to see how young she started and how messed up she already was.

He remembered the first time he had an experience with her drug use. He was lying awake at around two in the morning and him and Ashley had been texting. All of a sudden, he got a text and decided to read it.

Ashley: Hahaha I am soooo high right now! (2:05 AM)

Josh: haha real funny, Ashley :P (2:07 AM)

Ashley: No I’m no evn joking! I took sum of me mums meds and now I’m so high! (2:10 AM)

Josh: If this is a joke, it’s a pretty mean 1… (2:11 AM)

Ashley: no Im not even joking! The walls are friggin talkin to me! Theyre screamin bout some grocery list… haha milk and eggs… (2:15 AM)

Josh: Ashley. What about the conversations we had about how we would never do these things? (2:16 AM)

Ashley: Oh well it was an accident… I couldn’t sleep so I took sum of me mums insomnia medication, but I accidentally took 2 much and now im rlly high xD (2:25 AM)

Josh: Promise you’ll never do it again. (2:26 AM)

Ashley: I promise, don’t get yo panties in a little knot girl! (2:27 AM)

Josh: Im serious. I don’t want you 2 get hurt… and I don’t want to lose you. It’d be too hard and I might kill myself. Im not even joking. (2:28 AM)

Ashley: Ok. I promise. I’ll never even look at drugs again (2:32 AM)

Josh: Ok, well I’m a go to bed now. G’night! Sleep tight! Don’t let the bed bugs bite! I LOVE YOU!!!

Ashley: Love you too. G’night.

Fast-forward one more year to today. He’s a sophomore and she’s a junior. They haven’t talked to each other in seven months. Ashley doesn’t even seem to care about it. All she wants is drugs and she’ll do anything to get them. Josh on the other hand, is extremely broken and upset that he doesn’t have the same relationship at all that used to have with her… if he has any relationship with her at all.

They see each other in the halls and Josh smiles, waves and says “Hey Ashley!” She just blankly stares back for a moment and then keeps on moving.

At first when she just ignored him, of course he was upset. He would go home in tears and just feel helpless and ignored because of her. He felt so small and useless because of the fact that he couldn’t help her.

Josh doesn’t feel too depressed after coming to high school and meeting new friends because he knows he has Laura to talk to. He can just rant and rave about random topics and she’ll just sit there quietly, listen and then give great advice for him even though she thinks it’s awful.

Josh has the same relationship with Laura as he did with Ashley. He takes caution with it because it’s extremely terrifying to think of what could happen... how it might turn out in the end. He is so scared that their relationship will end just as fast as his did with Ashley.

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14 Reviews

Points: 857
Reviews: 14

Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:49 am
MadamLunatic says...

It seems that the others have hit all the points that need correcting.

Wow. Josh has no happy place except when he's with Laura. It's nice to see different surrounds and to see how he reacts with other people.

It was a nice read.

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58 Reviews

Points: 4801
Reviews: 58

Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:56 am
reason wrote a review...

Oh, Josh -what are we going to do with you? I ask myself this at times. I already miss his home life. It was intriguing though to see what happens at school, nonetheless. I have the usual: more sentence structure variety, show don't tell, and all of that good stuff. Let's get down to the details.

He knew that in real life they were moving pretty fast, but for Josh it seemed as if they were all moving in slow motion.

Is there a particular reason that his sense of reality is distorted?

That’s what always bothered him about school. You go to a giant building, learn things that you probably won’t use again and right in the room next door, there are so many people you don’t even know. Every day that you walk down the hall you brush shoulders with a stranger. He always felt so puzzled whenever he pondered this idea.

I don’t advise breaking the fourth wall. Engaging the reader directly is generally a bad idea. By doing this, you broke away from the past tense verbs you were using which creates dissonance in the piece. Furthermore, it didn’t help the story. This literary device is ideal when dealing with a narrative. Here, it felt out of place.

Josh sighed and sauntered over to his desk while kids in the back of the room snickered and made snide remarks.

This particular sentence is much too long. I advise cutting it down to: John sighed. The sullen teenager sauntered over to his desk. Fellow classmates snickered. And you know me; I want the specifics of what particular they particularly said about the boy. Did they pick up on his sexuality much like Sam?

It had never really hit him that she actually did drugs and that they existed.

Oh, how naïve. Also, Josh referenced two friends fell into drugs: however, we only hear about this Ashley. What happened to the other friend? As per usual, I want more specific moments rather than all of this exposition business.

As usual, I'm intrigued. Can't say I was a big fan of the dramatic shift from home life -Sam and Elizabeth to school life, but it was interesting nonetheless. Keep it up!

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159 Reviews

Points: 2117
Reviews: 159

Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:19 pm
Skydreamer wrote a review...

This is something I noticed about the start though, the sentence “Although he was in a crowd, he still felt so alone. This feeling of loneliness only made him feel even more alone.” Should have been after this sentence “He always felt so puzzled whenever he pondered this idea.” So that it does not bring the reader back into his loophole of thought after he focused his attention back on where he was going.

Another tip, Instead of saying finally making it to the door, saying finally making it to his classroom door would have been better because of added description, it doesn’t leave the reader hanging. Or to be even more specific you could have written “finally making it to his homeroom door” just something more descriptive explaining his surroundings. The reader only see’s what he sees’s and without the extra details like that the reader can be lost.

I do find it a little strange how you ended the chapter, I think it could have been ended differently.

It’s a good "friend’s no matter what" story, and drug awareness story and although I have my own opinion on which gender should be with which gender, the story was written really well!


It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and THEN do your best.
— W. Edwards Deming