Chapter One The day started as it usually did. Groggily, Jess leaned over to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. He was so tired because he had been doing thirty hours a week at work lately and he wasn't sleeping well because of his home life.
Add in school and the homework that came along with it and it was midnight or later by the time he got to bed. "Who invented these things anyway?" ,he thought as he climbed out of bed.
Showered and dressed, he went downstairs to get some breakfast.
"Hi Jess", his brother and sister said to him, almost in unison. "Hi", he replied back. After eating breakfast, he went back upstairs to brush his teeth. Then he came downstairs again and went to see his mother.
Jess always went to his mother's room and said "good morning" to her before leaving for school. Why he still did, he wasn't sure.
He had become so distant, there was no real connection left. "Probably just out of habit", he told himself. He kissed his mother goodbye and then left with his brother for school. In the car, he and his brother didn't talk much.
It wasn't that they didn't like each other, but Jess and Luke had very little in common these days. They had different friends, Luke being more of a social butterfly; different tastes in music, Jess listened to more heavy metal and rock, while Luke was more into the pop music scene; etc.
Once they got to school, that was it. The car ride there was the most time they spent with each other in a day and whichever one wasn't driving that day just stared at their phone the entire ride. Everyday he dreaded going to school.
High School had never been "as advertised" to Jess. He was a loner, an outcast. He had not even a handful of friends, everyone knew everyone, but that was about it. Recently he had been feeling more and more depressed, his thoughts sometimes turning to suicide.
Home life was.well it wasn't a home anymore. "Good morning Mr. Knight", said his homeroom teacher, Mr. Toer. "Morning", Jess replied back. He took his seat and started on the homework he didn't finish last night. Math was a particularly hard subject for Jess. He was just one bad grade away from failing the subject for the semester, but at this point that was the last thing on his mind.
Staring at the blank sheet of paper in front of him, his mind started to wander.
"What am I even doing here? I have no purpose, no desire, no happiness.
If I decided to just run away today, will anyone care? Will my parents notice if I'm not there?" The bell for the end of homeroom rang, jolting him back into consciousness.
"Damn it", he thought, realizing he hadn't done a single problem.
When the bell rang at 3:05, he was already driving away from school (his brother was in ROTC and stayed for after-school activities), his foot to the floor and the radio blaring.
Music had become Jess' only reprieve from his life and he was retreating into it more and more, barely paying attention to anything else. Music made him feel powerful, made him feel like he had a reason to live. It seemed that the lyrics of the song on the radio spoke directly to him, lifting him up, making him feel happy that someone, somewhere understood what he felt.
When he got home, Jess went straight to his room. As he was changing into his work uniform, he took a look at himself in the mirror. He was 16, had long, dark brown hair, electric blue eyes, was about six feet tall, and had slim body. The person staring back at him looked so far away, it looked like him, but it wasn't him. The eyes of the person in the mirror looked so desolate and empty it was shocking. Sighing to himself, he turned off the light and headed to work.
At work that night, he just floated aimlessly through the evening, barely engaging the customers, just wanting the night to end so that he could go home and sleep. Sleep, the one thing and one time of the day when he didn't feel hollow, lifeless. When didn't feel anything but peace. The next day was Saturday and he didn't have to go to work or school so he could sleep all through the night and well into the morning.
Opening the door to his house after work, Jess got a halfhearted "Hi" from his parents.
The kind of "hi" that you say out of politeness, not because you actually meant it. He replied back, asked if anyone had made dinner that night, and then went to his room. Turning on his computer, he checked his e-mail. As usual, it was just a bunch of spam, but then Jess saw the e-mail. Wesley had responded to him! Jess read the e-mail, then shut off his computer and got into bed.
Falling asleep, he smiled to himself, feeling some small sense of hope. Criticism welcome. Like I said, let me know if I should continue.