Title: Greener Series: Escape From Reality #3
By: Erin Lee
Publication Date: July 15, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Cover Designer: Crazy Ink
Itâs part of what makes us human. There are names for it â jealousy, envy, and sometimes even greed. We daydream about what someone else has. We convince ourselves that things would be better if we were someone else altogetherâ¦The grass is always greener, we believe. Or is it?
For Caroline, being left alone would be everything. Sheâs had enough of doctors and nurses telling her how to live because of a mistake she made as a kid. The idea of another shrink makes her cringe. Yet, she doesnât have a choice. Not if she wants to keep living on the outside.
For Nora, being seen would mean the world. Itâs been years since sheâs had a hot shower without sneaking around but no one notices. No one cares to ask. Itâs her job to smile, pretend everything is great and ask them about their days instead.
And for Dennis, the ability not to care at all would solve his difficulties. If only he could stop worrying about what people thought of him. To live authentically would make things so much easier. He could finally close the door to his past.
Three people with entirely different problems and one thing in common: They are trapped with a need to escape. Ironic, when Escape, Colorado is exactly the place tourists expect to find their own escapes. But then, the tourists are human tooâ¦
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My alarm goes off at 10:21 every day â long after Lori has come and gone. Way past after I know she could be back to bother me. Basically, by the time sheâs found other people to bother. I have no idea why I set it this way. I probably figured, close enough. I feel guilty sleeping in past 11 a.m. But, what do I really have to wake up for? Some days, I feel like my mother after James. I donât have that kind of excuse though. I canât say that itâs grief. I really donât know what is wrong with me.
I know Iâm depressed. Iâve been through more diagnoses than anyone I know. And I know a lot of crazy people after living at ECH for so long. By the time my alarm goes off, Iâve already been up and back to bed. Every morning, that annoying Lori-witch with her high-pitched laugh comes to wake me to give me my meds. Sheâs got to be pushing 400 pounds and only wears printed leggings that look like they are going to break at the seams. Still, she has the energy of a ten-year-old â always dancing around and talking about her dogs. âClean up your house, Caroline. This place is a mess,â she says. âGotta keep up with your treatment goals! Donât want anyone thinking you canât take care of yourself.â Or, âDoes Nora know about this? Have you talked to her about your living conditions?â No, but Iâm sure you will. And Iâm sure sheâll be happy to lecture me. Thanks for asking.
I finally gave her a key to my house so she would cut it out with the doorbell. Before that, she would literally ring it to the tune of âMary Had A Little Lambâ until I finally answered.
Lovely, huh? I have a stranger in my houseâcalled a Direct Support Providerâwho probably steals from me. I try not to think about it because it bothers me. At least she takes me to the grocery store. Most days, I think she actually cares about me. Still, she, and the people she works for, are annoying. They made a back room in my home into a âmedâ room and it stays locked. Iâm not allowed to go in there. Sometimes, Lori disappears for hours âdoing paperwork.â (Normally, she sits back there setting up Go-Fund-Me accounts for puppies that didnât die and donât need âlife-savingâ surgeries. Anything for a free ride, but who am I to judge)?
I have no privacy. None. At any time, and for sure twice a day, I have Lori or one of her co-workers here to make sure I take my pills. It has to be this way until I get through the one-year mark and can prove that Iâm capable of taking my own medications. These are the things, the frustrations, Nora doesnât understand. No one tells her how to arrange her house and what to do.
I donât have to see her today. Iâm glad for this. Iâm sick of hearing about what Iâm not ready for. Maybe thatâs because thereâs truth to it. Even if Dennis saw me in a romantic way, itâs not like I could bring him home. I canât see Lori looking fondly on that and, letâs face it, sheâd tell Nora.
I drag myself out of bed, stopping to pee and brush my teeth in the bathroom before hitting my final destination â the couch. It sags beneath me, not because Iâm heavy, but because Iâve got that couch trained. I sit in the same place all day, every day, until itâs time for appointments. I reach to the edge of the coffee table for my datebook.
People would think I donât need calendars or a datebook because I really donât have a life. People would be wrong. Because Iâm being watched, I have a list of things I need to do. If I donât do these thingsâmeet my treatment goalsâIâll be right back where I started on the fourth floor at ECH. Sometimes, the idea of that seems better than journaling about my future goals and plans. Today, on a Tuesday, my datebook reminds me that I have shit to do. Oh my God. Three oâclock! How did I forget? I remind myself to tell Lori the meds are making my brain foggy.
I jump from the couch. Today is Tuesday! Dennis is coming to fix the leak under my sink. I need to clean, shower and get dressed. I toss my datebook to the side. I can write my plan for getting a driverâs license another day. It isnât due until Friday. Priorities.
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