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A late arrival leading to serious consequences


learningtowrite 32 / 50  
Feb 20, 2008   #1
Describe a time when you were late for a meeting, leading to serious consequences.

I have waited for my friends for a hangout, waited for my parents to pick me from school, waited for the teachers in our monthly student-teacher talk; I have always been the person to wait. And the truth is, waiting for others to come is a torture for me. But until that fateful day, I had never realised that it is a torture for the late person, too.

Last winter, I and three of my classmates were chosen to represent the school in a Project Work Competition. The competition was vigorous; we had to spend a lot of non-curriculum time on various projects to get in the final, in which we would face our rival, International High. Our school had lost to them twice in the final, so our task became even more challenging. My team had become weary with the school's pride, the teacher's expectation and peer pressure. We must win. Extra practice, research, rehearsals, we did everything we could, so we must win.

We decided to have another meeting the day before the competition to rehearse, so that we would be more confident. Waking up, from my bedroom window, I could see a dazzling white curtain of rain in front of my eyes. Although my experience of waiting told me that heavy rain meant that people would usually be late, I still tried my best to get ready by 7 a.m. . Doing a quick calculation in my head, I knew that thirty minutes would be more than enough for me to ride my bicycle to school. 'I will end up having to wait again', I told myself as I wheeled my bicycle to the street.

I got on my bike and realised that I could pedal very smoothly on the empty street. Consequently, I decided to keep the speed slightly higher than usual, so that I could get to school a bit early to do correct some of the mistakes in our presentation. I reached my hand to feel the backpack, my raincoat flapping in the wind.

As I approached the crossroad, I reached out my left arm and waved in the freezing air, the other hand kept firmly on the brake, preparing to turn left. I pressed the brake lightly, a little harder, and then I had to squeeze my right hand hard, but the bicycle did not seem to slow down. I was terrified.

The next thing I knew was when I found myself in the middle of the street, my hands bruised. I tried to get up on my feet and led the bicycle onto the pavement to examine it. The brake must have been broken, I was so lucky not to break any bones. But how could I go to school without my bike? I looked at the empty street, a rush of despair washed through me like a wave. Looking down at my watch, I only had five minutes to reach my school, ten blocks away from the intersection. No choice left, I had to walk to school with my broken bike, the biting wind howling beside my ears while trees were dancing their awkward waltz. I sighed. For the first time in my life, I would become the person making others wait.

I managed to get to school twenty minutes later, soaked to the skin, my leg about to collapse. Running four levels, I rushed into the Language Room, heat burning my face. I was late. I kept telling myself. I did not know what to do when arriving late, but I knew that I was going to be in grave trouble.

Two of my team mates were slouch in the first row, their head resting on the table, ignoring my arrival. Silence conquered the room.
"Knock knock!" I knocked on the table, using the last bit of energy I could find to sound enthusiastic, but no response.
"Look, guys, I'm sorry for being late." I tried again, desperately, wondering how the late people managed to get through such anger from their friends. "My bike broke down, okay? I really tried my best to get here as fast as I could. So please, can we start now?"

"Start what?" Emily turned to me, her eyebrows knitted with irritation. "Mrs. Lee was gone. Who is going to judge us?"

"Mrs. Lee came so early?" I was really taken aback. Mrs. Lee, our coach had never been punctual for our whole course.
"Oh yes, and Elaine, too." Julie grunted, glaring at me. "They could not wait for our talented team leader, so they left. They were tired of this. And we are, too." Then, she turned back, took her bag and went out of the room with Emily, leaving me alone. I sat down slowly, snagged my teeth on the bottom lip, keeping the sobs from pouring out. My team had fallen apart.

It had been a year since then, but the pain of being defeated three times in a row by our rival still stroke on my life. Every now and then, the sad smile of my coach, the tears of my team mates and the murmurs of my school friends after the competition would flash back in my mind, reminding me of that time, when my late arrival broke the team apart. Many people say that if anybody has to be responsible for our loss, the person would be me, and it really hurts. A late arrival could kill your dream.

Please give me some advice to improve this. Thank you Sarah :)

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Feb 20, 2008   #2
Greetings!

Another great essay! Here are some editing tips for you:

I have waited for my friends so that we could hang out.

And the truth is, waiting for others to come is torture for me... I had never realised that it is torture for the late person, too.

We had to win. Extra practice, research, rehearsals, we did everything we could, so we had to win.

so that I could get to school a bit early to correct some of the mistakes in our presentation.

I reached out my left arm and waved it in the freezing air,
I tried to get up on my feet and rolled the bicycle onto the pavement to examine it. The brake must have been broken; I was so lucky not to break any bones.

As I looked at the empty street, a rush of despair washed through me like a wave.

I was late, I kept telling myself.

Two of my team mates were slouched in the first row, their heads resting on the table, ignoring my arrival.

"Mrs. Lee is gone.

I sat down slowly, biting my bottom lip, keeping the sobs from pouring out.

It has been a year since then, but the pain of being defeated three times in a row by our rival still casts a shadow on my life. (I'm guessing at what you meant; "stroke on my life" doesn't make sense.)

reminding me of the time when my late arrival broke the team apart.

Good work!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP learningtowrite 32 / 50  
Feb 21, 2008   #3
Thanks for your help. What do you think I can do to improve the setting of the story?(paragraph 2&3). It sounds very simple, you know. Btw, do you think I should add more tension by lengthening the confrontation with the friend?
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Feb 21, 2008   #4
Greetings!

If you don't have to worry too much about a word limit, you might want to build up paragraph two a little, to give more details about how the "team had become weary with the school's pride, the teacher's expectation and peer pressure." This is very important for understanding the friends' attitude at the end, so you might want to emphasize it a bit more.

More detail about the rainy day might not be a bad idea, either. When events, objects or conditions that are mentioned early in a story have a dramatic impact on later action in the story, you want to make sure that they provide the necessary background to increase dramatic effect at the end. The trick is to not build them up too much (so that the reader isn't saying "why is she making such a big deal out of some rain?") but enough to act as a subtle glimmer that it might be important later. Although you did this, a little more wouldn't hurt.

More tension in the confrontation with the friends would be good, too. I did find myself wondering "Why didn't she explain more about how she wrecked her bike and almost got seriously hurt? Wouldn't they have forgiven her if she had?" If there is a reason not to explain it, maybe you should say so; or, perhaps no reason would have been good enough to quell their disappointment, in which case, you should say that, too. You also might want to be just a little more clear that the team lost. By the time I got to the end, I had forgotten about how the team had already lost twice, so that when you talked of "the pain of being defeated three times in a row by our rival," it was not immediately clear to me that that meant the team had lost the competition they'd been preparing so hard for.

I hope this helps!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP learningtowrite 32 / 50  
Feb 22, 2008   #5
Thanks so much for your advice, but actually I have word limit- 600 words. I kinda exceed it already... What do you think I can do?
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Feb 22, 2008   #6
Greetings!

Well, yes, if the limit is 600 you exceeded it by 50%! :-) I have done some ruthless slashing (and a bit more editing), paring it down to 543 words. See what you think:

I have always been the person to wait for others; it is torture for me. But until one fateful day, I never realised that it is torture for the late person, too.

Last winter, I and three of my classmates were chosen to represent the school in a Project Work Competition. In the final, we would face our rival, International High. Our school had lost to them twice, so our task became even more challenging. Extra practice, research, rehearsals, we did everything we could, so we would win.

We decided to rehearse the day before the competition.. Waking that morning, I could see a dazzling white curtain of rain through the window. Doing a quick calculation in my head, I knew that thirty minutes would be more than enough time to ride my bicycle to school. 'I will have to wait again', I told myself as I wheeled my bicycle to the street.

I decided ride faster than usual, to get to school early enough to correct mistakes in our presentation. As I approached the crossroad, I pressed the brake lightly, then harder, but the bicycle did not slow down. I was terrified.

The next thing I knew I was lying in the middle of the street. I wheeled the bicycle onto the pavement to examine it. The brake was broken; I was lucky to be alive. A rush of despair washed through me like a wave. I only had five minutes to reach my school, ten blocks away. I had to walk to school with my broken bike, the biting wind howling beside my ears. For the first time in my life, I would become the person making others wait.

I got to school twenty minutes later, soaked to the skin, my legs about to collapse. I rushed into the Language Room, heat burning my face. I did not know what to do when arriving late, but I knew that I was going to be in grave trouble.

Two of my teammates were slouched in the first row, their heads resting on the table in silence.
"Knock knock!" I rapped on the table, trying to sound enthusiastic, but no response.
"I'm sorry for being late." I tried again, desperately, wondering how late people managed to get through such anger from their friends. "I wrecked my bike, okay? I tried my best to get here as fast as I could. So please, can we start now?"

"Start what?" Emily turned to me, her eyebrows knitted with irritation. "Mrs. Lee is gone. Who is going to judge us?"

"Mrs. Lee came so early?" I was really taken aback. Mrs. Lee, our coach, had never been punctual.
"Oh yes, and Elaine, too." Julie grunted, glaring at me. "They could not wait for our talented team leader, so they left." She took her bag and went out of the room with Emily, leaving me alone. I sat down slowly; my team had fallen apart.

We lost the competition; many people felt it was my fault. Even a year later, the sad face of my coach, the tears of my teammates and the murmurs of my friends after the competition still haunt me. I learned a valuable lesson that day: a late arrival can kill your dream.

I hope this helps!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP learningtowrite 32 / 50  
Feb 23, 2008   #7
Thank you! Your advice is really helpful for me:D


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