Short story about a young character eager to leave home for Leaving Cert English

Write a short story in which a young character is eager to leave home. (2012) 


A heart-wrenching short story about neglect and social disadvantage. The setting is very strong, the characterisation is good, but the plot could use some work. "A day in the life of", in and of itself, doesn't really qualify as a complete, rounded plot. Elements from this piece could be used in a descriptive essay or a personal essay. Here is another short story of a similar nature that suffers from the same plot problem. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 

I woke up with a start to my alarm on my phone, chiming as electric birds tweeted, forcing me to awaken. 8:30 am already and nobody thought to wake me for school? What a surprise. I tip-toed downstairs, frightened to wake my snoring father. I had guessed he was dodging work, again, after staying out all night with his friends... another surprise.

I tried to assemble some sort of lunch like the other girls in my school. Pasta with pesto sauce, baguettes filled with ham and buttered just the way they like them by their mothers; my mouth began to water at the thought of it. There was little else in the kitchen apart from a blackened banana and mouldy bread. I suppose Dad just forgot to do the shopping. I decided I would just have to skip lunch today, again.

I couldn't wait to move out, I thought to myself as I walked through the shortcut of our scummy estate, to our scummy school. It was tiring. Having to keep it together all the time, pretending like it was all okay. Soon enough, I will be in my own apartment, the apartment of my dreams. With no worries, no hurt, just complete freedom and peace...

My thoughts were interrupted by the sudden appearance of Mrs. O'Connor. I glanced up at her wide nose and beady eyes, lasering down at me. 

'Andrea, it is 9:05! Get to your first class immediately and don't forget to sign in!' 

I was startled by her and gave her a look before I edged past her. Her face softened and she attempted to smile at me, which made me feel unbearably uncomfortable.

'How are things at home, Andrea?' 

'Fine,' I muttered, as Mrs O'Connor would be the last person I would elaborate on my personal life to.
'Wow! That's great! Fabulous! Very great indeed...' she exclaimed, trailing off when she saw my expression. I finally got around her and headed to my first class.

I didn't mind school. Being quite honest, I liked it. I did well for someone from my area. I love Art, and I know I'm good at it. It hasn't been the same with Ms Curtin, my Art teacher, since I told her. Her eyes always looked sore when she looked at me and I hated the pity she felt for me. I'm not used to being empathised with, and I didn't want to know what it felt like.

I signed myself out at half 1 and headed for the shopping centre, five minutes from the school. I got changed into my work uniform in the public bathrooms, eavesdropping on the cranky old women waiting for a toilet.

'The smell in here is horrendous! The sooner I'm out of here, the better!'

I decided to ignore a few passing comments indicating at me to hurry and took my time. I began work at two o'clock, in my local butcher. I was lucky, they said to me, that I was so 'flexible' and 'well suited' to the position they had available three months ago. I may have lied and told them that I dropped out of school.. but that didn't matter. Work came first. Money came first. The only thing that was keeping me sane was the fact that I had been saving and saving and soon enough, an apartment would be mine.

Time usually flies at work. I spend a nice bit of my time with my head down, avoiding getting recognised by one of my teachers or classmates. I chat and laugh with our regular customers, talking about current affairs or how the weather has gotten so nice in the last couple of days, and how I hope it doesn't rain as bad as it did last year. It was a show for me, and I was a Hollywood actress compared to how I was feeling.

I stayed as late as I could, until the bruise on my chest became even bigger from carrying bones and stocks of meat. I swept the floors, wiped down the glass, anything they asked me to do... anything to avoid going home. After asking exactly five times if they needed me to do anything else, Fiona, my manager, laughed.

'Andrea, you must be the hardest worker we've ever had. Where would we be without you?'

It was nice to know I was appreciated somewhere and that someone cared. Fiona gave me the last lasagne that was going out of date the next day.

'Enjoy this! Thanks for your hard work and we'll see you tomorrow.'

My stomach dropped as I came to the realisation that I had to go home again. Where I have been dreading and avoiding going back to all day. (When you are a famous writer, you can write like this. For now, avoid leaving sentence fragments around -it may be perceived as unintentional and marks could be docked.) 'Two more months,' I kept telling myself, 'two more months until your deposit is saved up and you are eighteen and allowed to do whatever you want.'

I hesitantly strolled home, walking as slow as I possibly could. If I just went in the back door, took my lasagne upstairs, and waited until Dad had left to cook it, everything will be fine. 

I squeaked the back door open as quietly as I could, I tip-toed up the stairs and almost in the door of my room when my father squealed, 'Andrea! Where have you been? And what is that in your hand?'
He grabbed the lasagne and examined it.

'Ooh, very nice! Thanks a million!' he said as he strolled towards the stairs with it.

'Dad, please..' I said weakly.

'What did I hear you say?' he said as he lunged forward, grabbing me by the arm, shoving me up against the bathroom door. 

'Nothing...' I whispered, 'I just haven't eaten all day'

He laughed that evil laugh that I heard every once in a while, and I closed my eyes as the pong of vodka of his breath stung my nostrils.

'I put a roof over your head, and you can't even be grateful for it, can you?'

He threw me against the wooden door and I screamed, as my back hit the hard surface. He pulled my hair and spat on my face.

'I don't want to hear a peep out of you tomorrow morning. Stay in your room for the evening.' 

I scrabbled quickly into my room and shut the door and locked it. I lay on my bed, my heart thumping with fear as the front door slammed shut. I closed my eyes. 

'Two months, Andrea,' I said to myself, 'Two months until you are free.'

Short story about a young character eager to leave home for Leaving Cert English

Photo by Lukas Budimaier on Unsplash

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