A Bleak Paradise – Ali, Grade 10

This short story is written by one of my grade 10 students. The short story reveals the thoughts and regrets of a teenagers about friendship. The writer’s creative wording in his short story has made the piece interesting to read. Also, the description and imagery help characterize the main character effectively. 

 

A Bleak Paradise

It was a bright and particularly cold day in January. The clock had just struck three quarters past eight. I was routinely preparing to exit the house for school. However, as I started to open the door, I felt there was no reason for me to announce my departure, as I did not expect anyone to acknowledge my statement.

 The winter day was cold, but my outfit had enough insulation to make me impervious to the frigid temperatures. I took a stroll through my typical detour, as it was a less crowded and more peaceful road to my school. The path was, at most, a paradise for my pensive disposition and, at least, a place to ruminate unperturbed. 

The detour would sunder me from the rest of the world in the short moment I passed through it, just as the door of my sleeping chamber would, when I enveloped myself with frivolous thoughts after securing its lock.

Walking through the detour would bring me ineffable joy; I was free of any extraneous interaction, which meant that I could preserve my mental sanctuary. I was away from the bustle of the roads, the clamour of the people, and especially the thorns of bonding, as I always considered friendship as the fable of the two hedgehogs trying to warm each other during a blizzard; the more intimate they got, the sharper their thorns would feel.

Because of this dilemma, I never found solace in being gregarious. I would always sit in the more obscure seats in my classroom. I would wait for every other student to be seated until I could find a spot appropriate for my taciturn tendencies. I rarely required the assistance of my peers to accomplish tasks. I would take notes singly, write texts alone, and solve problems solely.

However, when I was present at this detour, I would always be accompanied by elation, no matter the circumstances or time.

During the blossoming spring of March, the detour would feel vacant and vivacious. I would enjoy its pungent fragrance along with the vivid colours that would only reinforce its tranquillity. When it rained, the detour would still retain its peaceful conditions notwithstanding the relentless rain. However, I would eventually miss its forgiving temperatures once June would mark the beginning of summer. Despite the sun’s scorching rays, the detour would still provide me with the seclusion I could seek nowhere else. The trees, though, would, at times, provide a respite from the blistering rays, and the dimmer brightness under the shade would restore the serenity and joy of the detour. Then, The carpets of autumn would eventually cover the path; its milder temperatures and picturesque scenery along with its heavenly gale would truly make it a paradise. However, the winds of September would eventually foretell the bleak winter season. Unlike its predecessor, winter, painting the earth with its acute shade of pure white, would bring along harsh and often unforgiving temperatures. Snowstorms were commonplace, but they were by no means tempestuous.

However, on this occasion, the wintry storms were much more severe. I had been warned by a few of my acquaintances to stay away from the detour during the peak of the winter season. But, as mulish as I was in pursuing my reclusive lifestyle, I would always shrug their advice off. 

I was only halfway through my usual detour that my mostly reliable feet decided to betray me, surrendering me to the hard ground, covered by treacherous black ice. Unfortunately, my squinting eyes had not made out the ice sheet, nor had my feet felt the treacherous touch of ice before they decided to secure their grip. Upon slipping and landing on the pavement, my senses grew dull, and my vision eventually dimmed as if I stared into the abyss. 

It might have been seconds or minutes, or hours when I came around. I uttered shouts of immense pain to see if I could be offered assistance; but to no avail, not a single soul crossed my sightline. I tried standing up on my own, but I felt paralyzed. I felt weak and insignificant, and the paradise I once wandered now seemed more desolate than serene. I no longer desired the bleak winter storm over the prick of the thorn. Its pain had suddenly been dwarfed by the immeasurable agony caused by the mishap, and my paradise had lost its brilliance to the dim hope of some company.