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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: A day in London
By diana kay


St James Park is busy with people taking advantage of the balmy late summer weather. It is the beginning of September and throughout England children are preparing for the start of the new academic year. School uniforms have been pressed and hung up neatly. New lunchboxes adorned with the latest Disney or TV character have been purchased and new stationary items placed incarefully chosen pencil cases ready to impress classmates. Only a few recalcitrant shoppers are still traipsing round shoe shops trying to find suitable black leather shoes for reluctant feet that relished the freedom of six weeks in sandals and flip flops.

Today, thankfully, the sun is shining as families congregate near the ornamental lake. Small children clutch bread for ducks in a ritual that never seems to cloy. Mums with babies in strollers meet for a coffee at the garden café. Older children play ball or do handstands nearby. A few people have brought rugs and are picnicking determined to make the most of the good weather before picnic hampers are packed away and countdown to autumn begins.

Dotted here and there on the benches by the lakeside are office workers tapping at their wireless laptops or talking on mobiles, a standard Starbucks cappuccino beside them in a Styrofoam cup.

Flocks of Japanese and Korean tourists talk excitedly and pose for photographs in the quintessential English scene. They are en route from Buckingham palace to Horse guards parade. Their guide book advises in six languages that ‘The Changing of the Guards’ is at 1pm. Their next photo opportunity will be standing proudly beside a tall Guardsman resplendent in red and silver uniform with shiny buttons and a bearskin hat.

A little to the side of the path sits a pretty girl with green grey eyes and long blond hair. Susie looks like a typical teenager casually dressed in faded blue denim jeans and pink and white tee-shirt.From the‘ Dancemania’ logo on her top and her pink and black jazz shoes you could probably guess she is a keen dancer

Susie is deep in thought .She has been planning for today right through the summer. Her mind is full of thoughts about her life as she replays the last few years. In a month or so it will be her 17th birthday where did all the time go?

Unlike most of her peer group Susie will not be returning to school. She is a bright capable girl, but she has been unwell and unable to gain the qualifications for further education. She has made alternative plans for her future.

The chimes of Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster inform the world that it is now three o clock. Susie she gets up and moves languidly towards Trafalgar square but Susie is not interested in sightseeing. She has lived near London all her life and is used to the bustle of the tourist spots and the shopping opportunities in Oxford Street and Camden market.

Earlier this morning Susie told her parents she was meeting a friend in London. They were pleased that she seemed to be more settled than usual and were happy to agree. On the way to the station Susie stopped by local shop to buy a bottle of water .Always meticulous in her planning and she had rehearsed this day again and again in head. She had marked 2nd September 2007 on the calendar of her mind before the summer even began.

Susie had made her plan as carefully as a suicide bomber, but unlike the terrorists she was only planning one death and that was her own.

At 4pm Susie made her way to the toilets near the London Eye and shut the cubicle firmly. The little pink sequinned pencil case was full of pills collected periodically during the last few months. Susie began to swallow them steadily and determinedly. She felt a little nauseous and dizzy as she made her way up to the bridge over the river Thames. She placed the empty water bottle carefully in an ornate rubbish bin at the side of the path and made her way toward the middle of the bridge.

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This article has been read 588 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Giesbrecht06/12/09
Very astute how you faded the story from scenes full of life to one of death. I kept waiting for someone to save her even after I finished reading. But I expect that's how those left behind to deal with it feel. Well done.
Glynis Becker06/13/09
Great descriptions and a surprise ending. Good job.
Mildred Sheldon06/13/09
Well written and truly so sad. I would have loved it if Susie had lived. Depression can and does kill. Thanks for sharing.
Anne Linington06/22/09
You have a lovely way with words, I especially liked the phrase about reluctant feet..having had six weeks in sandals. Theses displays don't allow me to see for a full quote.

It was a less-than-obvious take on the title empty and full, which made it all the more poignant in its conclusion. Nice work.

Laurie Gagne07/11/09
I am so sorry for your pain and applaud your courage in the writing of this article for all to share.
heartsafield, Laurie M. Gagne