My Submission to Medium’s NaNoWriMo Synopsis Writing Contest: THE HOMELESS HEARTS

OLIVER REESE, a young man of twenty three, attends the funeral of his wife, AMY, with whom he had been married for two years; his life sort of comes to a halt as he tries to cope with it, while his family and friends don’t seem to know how to even talk to him.

Elsewhere in the city, twenty two-year-old IZZIE COTON finds herself deflecting another of her sister KERRY’s attempts at setting her up on dates, insisting that she’s not interested in relationships, which Kerry interprets as a refusal to grow up and settle down. At least Izzie can count on her best friend Leslie to take her side and agree that she can be perfectly happy on her own.

Her worries over an impending blind date are set aside, though, when she returns to her apartment one night to find her roommate STEPHANIE has committed suicide.

Leslie and Kerry are concerned by Izzie’s calmness, while Izzie wonders what could have driven a seemingly normal girl to end her life like that. She never really knew Stephanie very well, even though they lived together for over two years; maybe she should have seen it coming. Maybe she could have done something about it.

Izzie wants to carry on with her life, but her boss VICKY suggests she goes to a grief support group to help her cope with the loss, and Izzie only agrees to go so everyone will leave her alone. After Stephanie’s funeral, she attends her first session. She panics, however, when she sees Oliver, whom she fortuitously met the day before, and realizes they’re both going to the same group. When she hears his story about his late wife, Izzie is even more distressed and runs out. KATHY, the group counselor, calls her and tries to convince her to give the group a second chance.

Izzie goes back reluctantly, and meets the rest of the group: among them is JESSICA, who is on a wheelchair after surviving a car accident that killed her father and brother; NOEL, whose boyfriend committed suicide; DAVID, whose father died of a hereditary syndrome; CASSIE, whose mom died of cancer; and HASIM, whose brother was a victim of a hate crime. Then there’s JULIA, whom no one yet knows why she’s there.

Even though she insists that she doesn’t need counseling like the rest of them, and that she feels out of place, Izzie quickly befriends them, particularly Jessica, Noel, Cassie and Oliver. She finds herself becoming closer with Oliver, who opens up to her about his situation like he hasn’t to anyone else.

Meanwhile, Leslie, feeling suddenly alienated, boldly accuses Izzie of not being herself for some time, and of refusing to accept that Stephanie’s death might have affected her a lot more than she’s willing to admit.

As Izzie tries to come to terms with her grief, she decides it’s time to make some changes in her life. Life, however, has a sneaky way of forcing change upon us.

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