Sleeping Handsome By Jean Haus

                                                                                         December 28

I’m almost done with my writing sample since I spent most of Christmas break working on it. I think it’s good, but I’m going to have Mrs. Gains take a look. I’m a bit anxious about hearing her opinion. Actually I’m scared shitless and I’m hoping that’s because I poured so much emotion in it. Since the short story is about a guy whose father wants him to be a lawyer, but he wants to be a surfer, it kind of mirrors my own life. So it should have some authentic emotion. If she says its crap, I just might cry like a little fan girl. Or jump off a cliff.

Oh. My. Gosh…loved this story! Sleeping Handsome is the modern day fairy tale story of a boy named Zach who is in a coma after a cliff accident while hiking with his friends at the end of school.

Paige and her friend get caught cheating on a school project, so as punishment, she has to do community service or be expelled. Because Paige wants to be an actress, she has to read to a boy in a coma.

She doesn’t want to do it, but it beats being expelled. So, she goes to his house everyday and reads to him. Of course, the books aren’t really her thing, (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Spy Who Loved Me, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, etc.) but, if that is what she has to read, she would.

She comes across Frankenstein on his book shelf and pulls it down. Inside the novel is a journal. His journal. She debates about reading it, but decides that maybe it would help him wake up. Plus, she’s curious. Wouldn’t you be?

She starts reading about his tortured life, the life his father wants for him. Everything is about his father, and what he wishes for his son, his dreams. Yet, these dreams aren’t Zach’s. He doesn’t want to play football anymore, but wants instead, to be a writer.

His father won’t speak to him, and if they do speak, they argue. To top it all off, Zach has a girlfriend who doesn’t appreciate him, but just uses him for his popularity status of being the star running back on the football team. She’s convenient, but he doesn’t love her. He never really has.

As Paige reads his journal to him, she learns some things about herself. She learns that she’s not much better. She has a friend (the one she got caught cheating with, Amanda) that bullies her into doing things that she doesn’t want to do, like teasing and bullying the less popular kids at school. Paige hates herself for doing those things, but Amanda is her friend.

Now as she reads the journal and finds out that Zach found the courage to break up with his girlfriend and to tell his father that he didn’t want to follow HIS dreams, but his own.

Of course, the journal entries end because Zach is in the coma, but Paige finds her own courage to tell Amanda to go fly a kite, that she doesn’t want to be friends with someone who is so mean anymore.

When Paige comes in for her daily reading session with Zach, his mother stops her and tells her that she will no longer be needed there. When she asks why, his mother tells her that they (Zach’s parents) have made the decision to take Zach off the breathing machines and any machines that are keeping him alive.

My tears spill across his skin as I push the breathing tube on an angle and lean forward. “I love you,” I whisper in a light breath and press my lips to his. They feel soft and warm as they press against mine.

Press against mine.

I loved this story, but just wish that it was a little longer…it was only a short story, but well worth the read. It’s free at Amazon, so give it a try. I give this story 5 stars!

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