Author's Name: Leah Epstein
Stage of Completion: Mostly Polished and Looking to Query
Preferred Critique Style: Straight to the Point,
Cat Person or Dog Person: Dog
Tea or Coffee: Coffee
At the teen hotline, a high school senior solves everyone's problems but her own: a runaway sister, a college essay that won’t write itself & a bad-boy caller she's falling for.
When I got to Teen Line, the phones were ringing like crazy, the lines lighting up red. That was what I loved about working there: everyone was too busy for small talk. No one stood around, doing nothing. There were ten other people working the night shift and everyone was on a call, trying to make someone feel better.
I waved to Kurt, who barely noticed, since he was in full-on counseling mode, then sat down at my carrel and picked up one of the blinking lines. “Hello. Thank you for calling Teen Line.”
The caller inhaled like she was about to plunge into deep water, then exhaled: “…My boyfriend just dumped me by text then he won’t even talk to me and we’re at this party and he sends his friend over to do his dirty work. I hate him. I hate myself for not listening to my friends who said he was an asshole but no. I ignored them, saying, ‘But he isn’t an asshole with me.’” Big sigh.
“What a pathetic idiot I am. What a loser.”
I let her go on until she finished, and then I said, “Mm hm.” My pulse was steady, my breathing slow—the opposite of hers, which came out in puffs. She wasn’t my sister, my mother or my friend. It was easy to be calm.
“I still like him. I’m not sure what to do.”
“It sounds like you feel incredibly hurt by his actions,” I said, even as my inner voice whispered, Walk away from the jerk.