Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bad Days Gone Good

I had to write a short story for English involving a homeless person, a forest, and moving schools. And this is what I came up with.

My name is Elaine Jones. I am 11 years old. I live with my mother in a tent in a forest just outside of the local town. People say we are ‘homeless,’ but this home is just as good as any other home, at least to us anyway.

We used to live in a proper house with a roof over our heads. We weren’t exactly wealthy back then anyway. And when mum and dad got divorced, things turned for the worse. Mum got fired from her job at the supermarket, I started to get bullied at school, and then some drunken idiot sets our front lawn on fire. We lost everything. The house, our photos, memories; everything was destroyed. Mum believes it was dad who lit the fire, just to get his revenge on mum. The government is no help. They won’t lend us any money to buy a new house because somehow they believe that we purposefully lit the fire. I’m not quite sure how all of that works, but now we are forced to live in this tent. Mum has tried getting a job, but so far she has had no luck.

Last week, mum and I made a trip into town so mum could go to an interview for yet another job that she probably wouldn’t get anyway. While I was waiting for her, I started singing. I sing when I’m bored, happy, sad, whenever really. There was this man there too. He was wearing a suit and looked very wealthy. I didn’t notice he was staring at me until I finished singing, and when I did, he started clapping. I thought it was really odd. He came and sat next to me and told me that he worked at a big school for people who are musically gifted. “If you wanted to come, and if it is okay with your parents, you would be very welcome there,” he said.
“But we don’t have any money,” I explained. “We can’t even afford to live in a house. We have to live in a tent.”
His smile dropped. He pulled out his phone and called someone who I presume worked at the school. He got out of his seat and walked outside to talk. He was there for a while too. He came back in just as mum came out with a disappointed face. She didn’t get the job. Yet again.
“Hello, Mrs…” he said while putting his hand out to her.
“Miss Jones,” she said while shaking his hand.
“My name is Harvey Crouch, ” he said, “and let me say, Miss Jones, I heard your daughter singing just before, and she has a gift. We would like to offer her a place at our school.”
“Sorry, we can’t afford it,” mum says.
“You don’t have to pay,” he continues, “I just got off the phone with the principal, and he has offered you a scholarship.”
Wow, a scholarship! Mum asks me to leave the room while they talk, so I go outside and watch a lady throw bread to the birds. After a while, mum comes out and explains to me that I will be able to go to school.

When the first day of school arrives, mum wakes me up really early. We pick out the best of my clothes, have something to eat and wait for Mr. Crouch to arrive in his car and take me to the school. I am so nervous. No one liked me at my old school. I had virtually no friends. And who’s to know if this will be the same?

When he eventually arrives, I say goodbye to mum and get in the car. The ride takes at least an hour. I sing for most of the time. I see a very big building in the distance. It looks really old and spooky. Is this the school? My question is answered as Mr. Crouch parks the car outside of it. There are actually lots of buildings, all looking just as old. I get out of the car and large groups of people walk out of the big building. I can see that inside it is some sort of hall. They point and laugh at me. That’s not a good sign. I start to walk the direction they do, but Mr. Crouch instructs me to one of the smaller buildings in the opposite direction.

First we go see the principal, a very old looking man. The whole time we were there, I could feel him watching me. I am asked to sing to him. I sing a song that mum used to sing to me when I was little. He looks just as amazed as Mr. Crouch looked, and welcomes me to his school.
I am then taken to yet another building. When I enter, everyone’s heads turn to stare at me as I sit down. Mr. Crouch introduces me before leaving. The class continues singing some old folk song that was actually really simple, and just after a few verses I have picked up and am singing like I’ve known it for years.

When the bell goes for break, a girl approaches me and introduces herself as Marsha. I spend the break with her. She seems very nice, and we have a lot in common. Her parents were divorced too; only she lives with her dad. And she likes to sing as well. We even share the same birthday! I get a rush of excitement at the thought that maybe I am finally making a friend.

When Mr. Crouch comes to pick me up after school, I tell him all about my day. When we arrive back home, mum runs to the car and embraces me in a hug. I tell her all about Marsha and what I did at school, and she tells me that she has something to tell me as well. We wave goodbye as Mr. Crouch drives off, before sitting down outside the tent.
“Elaine, I went to another job interview today,” she says, delight spreading across her face.
“Did you get it?” I say hopefully. She nods. Wow! Finally we will be able to have some money! And maybe eventually we will be able to pack this tent up for good and live in a proper house! Maybe things are beginning to look up for us two.

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