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Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
The graduation/welcome home party for Josh Mitchell doesn’t go as planned for Skylar Evans. The two worked together at the Paradise Hotel before Josh joined the Marines and shipped out to Afghanistan. Skylar briefly dated his younger brother Blake during his deployment. Not much happens in the blink and you might miss it town of Creek View, located just off of California’s Highway 99. In fact, at the end of summer, she will start at San Francisco State and leave Creek View behind. Looking everywhere for Josh to welcome him home, she hears him before she sees him. When Skylar turns around, she is stunned to see his gaunt face and lifeless eyes. It is only when he takes a step towards her for a hug does she notice that Josh has lost his left leg, courtesy of the Taliban. After Josh moves on to a new group of friends, Skylar questions Blake on the situation. Josh made their mother promise not to tell anyone. Leaving the party, Skylar recalls the last words Josh said to her before his deployment. “This is as good as it gets for me.”
The first week that Josh is back home, Skylar only runs into him once. She went to pick up her friend Dylan at the diner after she had finished her shift. While waiting, Skylar sees Josh sitting alone at a table, staring out the window, his food untouched. She recalls how popular Josh was before joining the Marines. Knowing that it is only proper, Skylar walks over to say hello.The first thing Josh says to her is how good she looks. She jokes that he would hit on Marge, the hotel owner, given the chance. Nope, not going there but he is coming back to work as the handyman until he figures out what to do with his life. While driving Dylan to the nearest Walmart, Skylar finds that she cannot keep her mind off of Josh. Dylan says that she is wonders what he would be like under the sheets.
When Skylar gets home, she is surprised to find their trailer door unlocked. She and her mother are adamant about locking it. Her mother should be working at Taco Bell. Carefully opening the door, she hears her mother coughing from the bedroom. Skylar finds her sitting on the bed and just thinks she is having a bad day. Skylar is floored when her mother tells her that she has lost her job and breaks down. Skylar is so close to leaving Creek View behind and her worst fears have come true. She cannot leave her mother alone.
Skylar’s life soon spins out of control. Her mother begins drinking again and refuses to look for a job. And to Skylar’s horror, her mother starts having a guy over. Working at the hotel, Skylar begins to see Josh every day. She no longer sees the wounded warrior or the carefree boy before he joined the Marines. War has changed Josh. His life now revolves around physical and group therapy at the VA and trying to decide whether to stay on the Marines or take an honorable discharge. The two start to spend more time together and Josh becomes the one bright spot in Skylar’s life while everything else comes crashing down around her. Skylar finds herself falling for Josh, but when he starts running away from close encounters, she wonders if she has read Josh’s signals wrong.
Will Skylar be able to leave Creek View behind? Does she get to go to college? Can she help her mother turn her life around? Is Skylar getting the wrong message from Josh? What horrors and loss did Josh suffer in Afghanistan that haunt him? Can Skylar help Josh move forward?
Visit Heather Demetrios’ website.