Set in author Leesa Cross-Smith’s native Kentucky, This Close to Okay is the story of two strangers coming together to sort out their fears and disappointments.
While driving home from work one rainy October evening, Tallie Clark, 40 and divorced, spots a man preparing to jump from a bridge. A therapist by trade, she doesn’t hesitate before rushing out of her car, ignoring the traffic and the rain, to dissuade the man from jumping. Thankfully Tallie’s bravado in approaching the stranger catches him off guard and delays him long enough that he agrees to back off and get a cup of coffee with her. He won’t reveal his name or much else, but that doesn’t stop Tallie from inviting him to her home to spend the night.
The morning comes, and with it a kind of comfort and thankfulness that allows soft-spoken Emmett to reveal to Tallie not only his name but also the pain that brought him to the bridge. Tallie, though she seems perfectly put-together, isn’t any less heartbroken than Emmett. The two start sharing their deepest feelings with each other, making their chance encounter extend into a whole weekend together. Interestingly enough, their revelations don’t include the basic details that Tallie is a therapist or that Emmett has a pretty sketchy public profile. Both are still afraid on some level to completely reveal their identities.
Cross-Smith places mental health at the heart of this story, bringing attention to the importance of asking for help when navigating the complicated twists and turns of life. This Close to Okay is a fast-moving, drama-filled roller coaster that will keep you guessing about how things will turn out for these two lost souls.