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One Day (3rd Prize, Category 3)

April, 2014
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There seems to exist this prevalent belief that every writer and author is somehow obliged to furnish every story, poem and book with some climax or stunning plot twist as a means of piquing a reader’s interest and spurring them further into the words. This will be something of a different breed. I urge that you prepare to be quite stunned by the mundane details of my life. I can assure you of two possible outcomes; the first of which being that your patience simply snaps halfway through, the alternative being that you will persevere through the barrage of meaninglessness. But to what end?

Picture a dark bedroom, with silence disturbed only by the occasional winter breeze coming in through the window, rustling the curtains and forcing the shadowed figure further into his sheets. Cowering away from the frosty air, a dark figure savors the final few minutes of purest calm he would have for the day; the last sliver of time before he would have to arise and deal with endless incompetence. Then the first sharp ring coursed through the air, followed by a several more increasingly annoying rings, a soft tap, and silence once more.

“Oh, to hell with the time.”

The slightest ray of morning light penetrated the room through a small gap, causing the figure to be illuminated, much to his annoyance. This formerly shadowed figure is me, and as I sat on the corner of my bed struggling to come to my consciousness, I felt the comfortable heat of floor heating warming the soles of my feet, and also the cold, vulnerable feel of not being guarded by your sheets, shielded from the day ahead. This was one of the few days when I woke up rather early, to my satisfaction. I’ve often found that waking up late meant rushing downstairs at incredible speeds to make the bus. Strangely enough, I still seem to be a bit of a late riser; it seems I’ve somehow managed to develop the ability to hit the silence button in my sleep. Besides, what is a bit of running compared to a few extra minutes of precious sleep?

Still half asleep, I, with tremendous effort, seized my uniform and in a most undignified manner made my way to the bathroom, where a few minutes under a warm shower should do quite well to fully wake me up. I find that it is here, in the dark bathroom, under the soft patter of the water where my philosophical self is at most liberty to run riot, and even in the mornings my mind is plagued by the most curious of questions, and the most extraordinary of ideas. Although most of these thoughts are simply cast away the minute I get dressed, a few remain with me for quite some time, eating away at my mind, and being a source of many welcome distractions in the day ahead.

Without much breakfast of note, I simply grabbed my things and left my apartment, the click of the lock sliding into place reminding me that I’ve left the only place where I feel truly comfortable and plunged into the coming day, without my bed and computer. It is here, right outside my apartment, waiting for the lift, where all time seems to simply come to a halt, where the thoughts carried over from days past seem to reverberate through the walls, and where the fresher thoughts bombard my head with great vigor.

At last, the lift arrives, and in short moments, I find myself standing among several people with an awkward silence lingering over the air, and the low metallic sound of the lift’s descent filled the air. At last, a sharp ding sent the doors open, and I stepped out into the lobby, and made for the doorway, taking care to always be a step or two ahead of anyone behind me; a minor precaution, lest some anonymous person decides to attempt a conversation with me.

I stepped out into the frosty morning air, and felt it rush through; a most refreshing feeling, which today carried with it the smells of smoke and pollution.

The wait for the bus was a rather short one, with me simply standing around doing nothing. The cold of that day had numbed my volatile mind, and the minute I got on the bus, I quickly reached for my headphones amid a chorus of greetings and ‘good morning’s.

Although the ride would prove to be rather uneventful, I remember it quite clearly. It was the morning when I decided to have Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as the soundtrack to my bus ride, and when I pictured outside the window chaos and explosions of vast grandeur; truly an impressive image to accompany Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Personally, I think it’s quite a pity the figments of my imaginations were not realized; It would’ve been quite a striking sight. I could simply imagine it already happening all around me, a vivid concert with cannons, explosions and come the crescendo, blood; all this to the tune of the 1812 Overture, a concert in which the audience would be left quite literally blown away.

One can only imagine my annoyance when my symphony of destruction was given an abrupt end by the bus stopping in front of school. It seemed unfit that such grandeur would have to come to an end at the hands of a bus stopping. I reluctantly stepped off the bus, and headed for my locker.


“Good Morning”


All the usual formalities of every morning at school were addressed with my mind drifting somewhere else. In fact, my mind was racing through mental images of anarchy and destruction all while scouring my locker for the books I need. I really had no idea as to the reasons such violent images were going through my head that day. I simply felt like it. Perhaps it was Tchaikovsky, or maybe it was simply the rather strange looking bread I had this morning. Maybe it was simply nothing.

I noticed the soothing, darker music of Coldplay coming through my earphones, and made my way to class.


It was halfway through math class that day, when I felt a strange feeling of emptiness course through my stomach. I was quite sure I had quite something of a meal for breakfast that day. I simply cast aside that feeling and continued staring at the wall as I had been doing for the past half an hour. I found more interest in the texture of a concrete wall than the intricate rules of mathematics. Who could blame me? I consider math the easiest subject to learn, all you had to do was memorize the rules. Everything else was the simple application of these rules. Why have someone repeat the same rules over and over again, only for his words to fall on deaf ears, ears annoyed by the constant repetition?

It was at lunch time under the sweltering heat I retreated to the library, where I found the words more welcoming than the marmalade sky and scorching winter heat.

It was odd, I thought. Winter up here never is too hot. Maybe it was just the rather strange looking soup I had for breakfast today. Perhaps it was the Wagner from this morning. Maybe it was simply nothing. I noticed the soothing music of the Beatles coming through my headphones, and sunk my head into Alexandre Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo. If only, I thought, the people in this world would be more like Edmond Dantes, and only then would the world see true justice.

The final bell rang, and the hallways of the school were in great delirium.

It seemed people were more eager to get home than usual. I was not much different,
home being the one place I could find calm.

“Hey, wanna hang out later?”

“I’ll think about it”

That was a friend of mine, a member of an elite few people I deem competent enough for me to converse with. I know, such discrimination is quite cold, but I’ve been known to be a rather cold person. Such is evident in my actions, and I’m not a very generally liked person here. I don’t mind; I quite like to think of myself as an oasis in the middle of a desert of incompetence. I realize the evident self-glorification.

I realize that this is looked down upon by many. I like it.

The autumn sun shone down upon me as I walked back to the apartment building, still taking care to keep ahead of anyone who would happen to be behind me. Once again, as my shoes rustled the fallen leaves, I felt the thoughts of war and turmoil coming back to me, but this time, with the tune of ‘Another Day in Paradise’ by Phil Collins, a stark contrast with the Tchaikovsky of this morning. It scared me.
I was not a violent person; merely a rather cold one. The skies were now a fiery red, showing traces of what might be rain, and so I quickened my pace into the apartment, the fear still lingering in my heart; the fear of what? I don’t know;

myself, perhaps.


It was a strange day. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a day quite so uneventful, yet quite so bizarre. There was something I simply couldn’t put my finger on. Was it an idea, hovering over my ahead, or a question? I had no homework for the day, and so I decided to sleep it off.

Picture a dark bedroom, with silence disturbed only by the calm winter breeze coming in through the window, rustling the curtains. A figure stirs. Unwavering, even in the face of the morning frost, he savored the last few minutes of pure calm he would have in a while. He felt odd. A strange feeling of emptiness coursed through his stomach. Perhaps it was the strange soup he had for dinner. Maybe it’s simply nothing. It didn’t matter anyway; the strange feeling quickly receded.

The figure reached for the window, and with great difficulty opened it. The cool barrage of air numbed his senses, and took in the velvety purple midnight sky, illuminated by the lights of a great city. A soft, low music filled the air. It was Tchaikovsky. The figure simply stood there, letting the soft music fill his ears. Then he jumped. It was as the piece reached its crescendo when the figure finally realized the gravity of his situation; too late now.

That former figure is me.


By Shebri,

14 years, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai - Pudong



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