Now I have to prove I can do it. The blog is working, the posts are ongoing, but now how do I write that first line? I know the story. I know where it will begin, what will happen in the middle, and how it will end. My character Meredith is going to hit a whirlwind of trouble at her new school, so much so that she won’t even stay at her new school for long. Why? What happens to her?
She makes the wrong choice. It’s as simple as that.
So many times, as a high school teacher, I witnessed this Wrong Choice. I made them, too. We all do. But sometimes, the choice is life-changing. It can be something simple like skipping a class or not doing an math assignment. Those are small and may have consequences, but are fixable. I’ve also witnessed the larger wrong choices like choosing to start taking drugs or holding a gun for someone “for just a second.” Or going along with a friend who decides to hot wire a car and just drive it around a bit. Thre’s so much pressure. You want friends. You want to belong. What can it hurt?
One morning, I walked into school, and before I could unlock my office, another teacher told me one of my students had shot someone and was on the run. I cannot describe the sinking feeling in my core. The feeling that brought tears and at the same time seemed to push my whole body back against my office door.
No! He wouldn’t do that. He had plans. We had just filled out job applications the day before. No. No. No.
Later, he turned himself in to the police and was tried as an adult. Later, still, he was locked up for most of his life, and his dreams, his future was already written by someone else, someone with a judge’s gavel. It had to be. I couldn’t fix it. And I think that was the hardest part for me. I. could. do. nothing.