Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Family Essay

Hey! I wrote the following story to enter a Cathy Cassidy writing competition. It hasn't announced winners yet, so fingers crossed! Anyway, here it is...

I was born to the sound of beggars whining. There were street-sellers gawping, and a crowd of women dressed in strange colours, gabbling at me with sounds that I couldn’t understand. Cows wandered by and surveyed the scene. My mother panted with effort. She turned to me, her hazel eyes glittering with tears. Tears full of fear. Fear of raising me in the slums without anyone to support her... For now, it was just me and her, alone in India. She was my world. She was responsible for another human being- a human being with a heart that needed nourishing, a brain that needing teaching and a stomach that needed to be filled...

 “Oh, what a load of rubbish,” said Sophie, as she finished reading.
“It’s true! Every word of it!” I said, in a rush to defend my essay- My Family.
Sophie stared at me.
“Okay, okay... maybe it’s not completely word for word, hand on heart, true. I’ll write it again,” I said with a sigh.
I turned away and began a fresh page.

You’ve asked me to write about my family. But, what happens when you don’t have one? I live at number 15, Questone Street. Yes, the orphanage.
I’ve got nowhere else to go, so I have to stay. The supervisors don’t care about me, so I’m not going to call them my family. Are you really going to substitute your parents with people who make you wash the floor with your clothes? (From Oxfam, by the way.) There are other kids there. But they all bully me. It’s easy for them to beat me up. And if I don’t do their chores, I pay for it, big time.
No, I don’t have a family. So this essay is going to be about the only thing I have closest to one, my dreams in my head...

“LUCY! Are you kidding me? God, you really love making yourself the victim!” Sophie said.
“Oh give me a break, Sophie! My family is so boring! I have a Mum, a Dad and an older sister. My Mum works as a secretary and my Dad is a manager at Sainsbury’s!”
“You’re going to get NO marks if you write something like this! It has to be a truthful account!”
Just then, there was a knock at the door.
“Come in.” Miss called.
The door opened.
“Miss Smith? Is Lucy James in here?” said our head teacher.
“Um, here, Miss.” I said.
“Would you come with me a moment, dear?” A sound of muffled gasps ran across the room. Our head teacher, Miss Bryers, had never been known to say dear in her life.
I stood up and followed her down the corridor into her office. Someone familiar was sitting there.
“Mum, what are you doing here?” Panic filled me.
“Lucy, sit down please,” said my Mum. Her voice was shaking.
I sat down.
“Lucy. Your father’s had a heart attack,” she said.
The room started spinning and Mum became a blurry shape, disappearing in front of my eyes. My head floated away, while my body stayed calm and sensible. It nodded while Mum talked. It got in the car to go with her to the hospital. It hugged my sister, found crying on the back seat. It behaved exactly like everything was going to be alright, when my head was full of panic.
Seeing my father was worse. He was breathing, but he had so many drips and cords attached to him I could hardly see his face. His eyes were mere slits. His body had become a mess of tangled wires. Where was the man who stood at the back at school plays with the camera?  The man who knew all the football scores and regularly blamed the SatNav for getting us lost. He was gone. I stood there awkwardly, while Mum took one hand and my sister Isabelle took the other.
“It’s going to be alright,” were the words they uttered, all through the night. It was like a lullaby. After eight hours, I sank down on a waiting chair, and fell asleep.

I don’t know how long it was before I opened my eyes, suddenly alert and awake.
But then I looked over at Dad’s bed, and stood up in shock. Most of the wires had gone. I could see Dad again. And he was looking at me, awake and smiling.
“DAD!” I yelled, and ran over.
“It’s okay, darling. I’m going to be alright.”
Two tears ran down my cheeks.
“Really, Dad? Are you sure?”
“The doctors say I’ll be fine. I’ll have to lay off the bacon for a bit, though!”
He looked so alive. I knew then, that he was going to be alright.

“Here, read it.”
“Forget it Lucy! It’ll just be another story! What is it this time? You’re a stolen child from America who lives with evil unicorns?”
“Sophie! Read it.”
I handed her a piece of paper, covered in my writing. She sighed deeply, and then began to read. After a while, she looked up.
“Wow, Lucy, it’s the truth! It’s your actual family! It’s so good, though. Really funny, too.”
Then she went back to it to read the ending.

My family is pretty normal. I’m not an unwanted orphan or a street child living in the slums of India. But we are unique. So what if my Mum’s just a secretary and Dad’s just a manager from Sainsbury’s?  It doesn’t make them any less special to me.
I didn’t realise how amazing my family was until my Dad had a heart attack. We pulled through. We clawed our way back into normal life. We’re invincible!
It doesn’t matter if your family is just one person, a group of people, or the cat that sometimes comes to your house for food. Who cares? As long as you love them, you’ve got a family to last you forever...

That's the story for today! See ya!
From The Girl With The Notepad :)


  1. Cute. :)

    One quick little nit-picky thing, though. You refer to "family" as multiple objects, which it technically is, but it is referred to in English as a single object.

    Simply put, "my family is," not "my family are"; "my family was," not "my family were."

    I hope you win!

  2. Thanks for commenting! Will edit my post, and change the 'my family are' xxx


Five minutes of your time can make my day... :)