Two exemplars A Hard Skull and a Hard Lesson by Marie Forbes I was only sixteen when it happened. Until then my world had seemed a safe and happy place, where the sun shone most days and every story had a happy ending. Now I know it is not always like that. Now I know the truth – and I live my life very differently. It was a beautiful Autumn day, warm and bright.

I had Just finished supervising a strenuous game of hockey at school, as part of my Higher in Physical Education, and I decided on the spur of the moment to nip home at lunch-time to be pampered by my um for twenty minutes (at least I hoped she would pamper me) before bracing myself for a math test that afternoon. I left hurriedly – most of my friends were still in class – and took the short cut through the woods. I remember the gold’s and reds and yellows of the changing leaves and the way acorns periodically plopped off the trees as I set off home.

I cannot remember any pain, though there must – surely – have been a moment of sheer agony as the thing hit me squarely on the back of the head. I say thing because the police never found the weapon. From my injuries they said it was probably a metal bar. I never saw my assailant either, though I heard his short breaths as the world turned black and white and I fell to my knees among the leaves. I recall a slight grunt from somewhere to my left, a whiff of male sweat, a shadow stretching over me. Then, somehow, I was on my feet running. Running for my life.

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I have no memory of the rest of that day or the next or the next, but my mother has filled in the blanks. Apparently I managed to run three quarters of a mile to our house, crashed in through the back door and collapsed with my face in the dogs dish. Fortunately my mother was there to save me from suffocating in Pedigree Chum ND to phone the ambulance. When I woke in hospital, three days of my life had vanished forever and I had nearly gone with them. They said I was lucky: I had an unusually hard skull, so it was only cracked – not crushed as it well might have been from the force of the blow.

In fact, I made a full physical recovery in about three months. However, psychological recovery was much harder. I had never seen the attack coming. I had never even imagined that such a thing could happen to me. Now I knew that every tree, every car, every street corner held a potential attacker. Life had suddenly become perilous. At first I dared not even leave the house. I stayed at home. In the safe inside world, I could lock all the doors and feel almost okay. If I ventured as far as the garden, even with our large German Shepherd dog to protect me, I would start to panic.

This did not get better as time went on: it grew worse. I started to phone my mum or my dad at work, Just to hear a reassuring voice. They, of course, were nearly ill with worry about me. This kind to attack does not under threat. Just attest one person: the whole Tamil tells I think I would have stayed permanently ‘stuck in a kind of zombie existence if I didn’t been for my friends. They’d been coming faithfully for weeks, always repeating the same question: “When are you coming back to school? ” I shook my head and burst into tears. “l don’t think I can,” I sobbed. And it was true.

Climbing Everest without oxygen seemed easier. “Well,” said Samaritan, in frustration, “it’s no use having a hard skull if all you do is sit inside the bloody thing and won’t come out. ” Suddenly, I knew that she was right. I was going to be shut indoors with the TV forever, like the Lady of Shallot in that stupid stone tower, except I would be stuck tit Richard and Judy for the rest of my life – and my attacker would have won. So I went and got my Jacket and all four of us walked to school. We didn’t go through the woods and we did come straight back again, but it was the beginning. I learned some grim lessons that year.

They were not on the school curriculum but they were probably the most important things I’ll ever know. I learned that you can never tell what is ahead of you. And I learned that -whatever is to come – it is no use living in dread or panic. Living in fear is not living. Most important of all, I learned that true rinds can rescue you from the darkest corners of your own skull and that there are more true friends in the world than there are violent attackers. So my assailant taught me something, even though that was hardly his intention. He taught me that life and friendship are precious.

I value them as I never did before. 859 words Exercise Work out a rough paragraph plan for the essay above Mark all the sentences which include reflective comments (as opposed to descriptive or narrative) There are one or two fairly humorous observations in this otherwise serious essay. Is this a strength or a weakness? The Moment that Changed my Elite By Lira Christie “Well, another day late! ” I said to myself as I waddled upstairs to bed. After completing the enormous task of removing my socks, which is virtually impossible when you can’t see your feet, I rolled myself into bed.

As I lay there, surveying the huge mountain that was my stomach, I wondered how much longer I would have to endure this. The nine months estimated by knowledgeable doctors had passed nine days ago. If I had paid for private health care I would be demanding a refund! With a sigh, I stretched over and switched off the light. I don’t know how long I slept for, but I woke with a Jump. The strangest sensation was gripping my stomach. “No, it can’t be,” I whispered. I lay down again, convinced it was more of the practice contractions – Brannon Hicks, they are called.

But about 10 minutes later it happened again. My whole stomach tightened and there was a lot of pressure at the bottom of my stomach. I decided to sit up and wait for another one, just to be sure before I raised the alarm and panic broke out. Like clockwork, another one came. They were uncomfortable, but not painful. As gently as possible I woke my husband. “Paul? ” I whispered. No response. Paul, wake up,” I said at normal level. “PAUL! I’M HAVING THE BABY! ” This worked. He sprang out of bed and rushed out of the room and downstairs without even looking at me.

I sat patiently and waited for him to come back when he had become properly conscious. About two minutes later he came charging, like a wild horse, into the bedroom, carrying a phone, car keys and my hospital bag. Where he was going in boxer shorts and trainers I am not sure. After calming him down, we got settled in the living room with everything ready to go. When I say ‘settled’, I mean that I lay on the couch having contractions, waiting for hem to get close enough for me to go to hospital, while Paul paced up and down the living room.

When the contractions were five minutes apart, they were getting quite painful, so we headed off to Forth Park. Once I arrived and got settled in a room, the nurse strapped a machine around my stomach to check my progress. It wasn’t much. After an internal examination, the nurse told me I was only four centimeters dilated (you need to be ten to give birth). So, it was going to be a long day. After a few hours in hospital, the pain was getting to be too much, so the nurse gave me some “gas and air”. This stuff was fantastic! I was like alcohol in a canister.

I was singing along with Geri Hallowed and Atomic Kitten after a few puffs. The strangest thing about labor is your sense of time. One minute can seem like an hour, but then three hours pass and you have absolutely no recollection of them. A tee hours later I was given some demimondaine to help Witt the pain, but it d help. I was starting to panic. If the pains continued to get stronger, I thought I would pass out. I started to cry. Paul frantically tried to comfort me but I couldn’t explain how I felt. On the one hand I was desperate for it all to be over so I could see my baby.

On the other hand, I was terrified of being responsible for a little person who would depend on me for everything. Wicked I be a good mother? All these doubts rushed through, my mind. “K Lira, you’re ready to start pushing,” the nurse told me after my next internal examination. As soon as I started to push, I felt better. I didn’t feel the pain when I was pushing. After an hour of pushing the nurse told me she could see the head and it gave me the determination to keep going. As the baby started to come out, I was told to stop pushing or I would tear my skin. This moment seemed like an eternity.

I could feel a burning sensation as the skin stretched to let the baby out and I desperately wanted to push. “Do you want to feel the head? ” the nurse asked. “Are you mad? Just get the baby out! ” I shouted. Why on earth would anyone want to prolong that moment to feel the head of their baby stretch their most intimate body parts beyond all recognition? Then, all of a sudden, the baby was out. At first I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and exhaustion. Then I felt excited and wanted to see my new baby. “Congratulations, you have a little girl! ” the nurse told me as she passed the baby o me.

As I looked at my daughter for the first time, I experienced a rush of emotions – every feeling I had ever experienced all rolled into one. I felt an incredible surge of love for the tiny girl in my arms who was so beautiful and who was starting right back at me. I knew at that moment my life had changed, but the doubts I had felt had vanished. I knew I’d do whatever it took to protect and care for her. “Hello Drawer,” I said to my daughter [899 words] Some parts of the essay are in direct speech?the same is also true for the previous essay. What effect does that have?

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