Cherry Tree

Cherry Tree

Monday, February 7, 2011

Continuous Writing (Sample Narrative Essay)

Write a story that begins with 'I did not know what happiness was until...'

I did not know what happiness was until my aunt’s caring words sank into me on my graduation day. There she was sitting on the front pew, looking at me with loving eyes, proudly as I stood on the stage giving a speech. She was my angel. She protected me and cared for me since the demise of my parents.

As an orphan, it was not easy for me to get acquainted to strangers. I had built a wall over the years to protect myself from being hurt. The fatal incident of a robbery left me broken and shattered. I could vividly remember the bloody tragedy. After my tuition class on Friday night, I came home in my friend’s car. When I arrived, I felt strange as mom and dad did not lock the door and left the gate wide open. Quietly and suspiciously, I walked into the house sensing something terrible might have happened. In front of the doorstep, to my horror were my parents and twin brothers sprawling right across the carpet. I was paralyzed with fear. Blood was oozing. Mom and dad were lying on their stomachs holding each other’s hands. My twin brothers were heavily injured with slashes of knife cuts on their heads and back.

“Wh-what’s going on?” I asked with a quivering voice. “Mom, dad, Habil, Qabil …please wake up,” I pleaded but they were motionless. It was a very horrifying scene. I found myself screaming and howling hysterically. My neighbours who came to help. The ambulance and police arrived within minutes but they were too late. I was so shaken that I could not stop crying. Not even the paramedic could calm me down. I was escorted to the hospital. Somehow, they managed to contact my aunt. Her hug and consoling words relaxed me a little. I was given a sedative jab and I fell asleep instantaneously. When I woke up, she was right there by my bedside. I felt safe and secured in her presence.

The police came to interview me. My aunt was with me all the while. I was kept away from the press and television for weeks for fear of my recurring hysteria. The doctor-in-charge put me in a psychiatric ward for half a year, under close observation to help me cope with the terribly haunting tragedy.

After six months in the psychiatry unit, I was finally discharged and reported as being in a stable condition. I went back to the house where the killing took place. It was a very emotional experience. Tears kept rolling down my eyes. I could not stop it. However, I was quiet and not hysterical anymore. My aunt was there holding my hands and rubbing my back, giving me all the moral support and love she could. I packed my belongings, took the family pictures hanging on the wall and put them in my bag. I was put under my aunt’s custody.

My parents and siblings were brutally killed in a home robbery. The prime suspects were two middled aged man. My parents were shot whereas my twin brothers were stabbed to death. It was reported that about RM20,000.00 worth of money and jewellery were stolen. They were finally arrested, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Despite that, the life of my loved ones could not be returned.

“Hawa you must let go off the past. Don’t keep that hatred in your heart. Do not disappoint your late parents. You have a bright future ahead of you. Stay focused in your studies, pass with flying colours and live your life to the fullest. Realize your dreams of joining a forensic team. Make your parents and siblings proud of you. It’s not the end of the world. I’m still here for you,” she advised and encouraged me.

“…but I can’t forget them. Why me? Why my family?” I asked knowing that there was no answer to that.

“Who said that you must forget them? God loves them and that is why He took them in His care. You should be grateful that He still wants you to live their legacy, to care for the unfortunate. They would be sad if you keep wasting your youth away,” she rationalized with me and gave me a big hug to comfort me and take my doubts away.

Fortunately, her caring words and actions awakened me. I picked myself up from feeling worthless and hopeless. I was only fifteen then. However I strived hard and I succeeded.

Today, I am celebrating freedom. Freedom from the bondage of anger and hatred. And I am celebrating this new joy, this new me with my loving aunt. Without her support, I would not have made it.

By: Ainul (Form 5S1, 2010)


I didn’t know what happiness was until the unfortunate mishap. I have never been disappointed by the beauty of mother nature. It has taught me a lot about appreciating God’s gifts.

The story began on a bright Friday morning. I packed my bags and was ready to take on the adventure of camping in the jungle. At first, I was reluctant to go but after being cajoled by my persistent friends, I finally gave in. It was a trip for sheer relaxation and nature learning. All six of us – Ainul, Dayang, Farah, Suhaila, Yus and I finally agreed to meet up at the school’s bus stop before embarking on our journey into the virgin forest.

As I was half way walking towards the school, it suddenly started raining. I hastened my steps to the school’s bus stand. Luckily for me, it started pouring when I arrived near the school. Only then, I realized that I was 10 minutes late for the meeting.

“Where have you been? We promised to be here at exactly 11 a.m.,” Ainul barked out.

“Sorry, I had to run some errands for my mom and there was a storm out there,” I explained. “Anyway, we’re all here. So, let’s not waste anymore time. Let’s go,” I quickly added so that Ainul would not dwell on the subject.

Thankfully, the rain lasted for five minutes only. We hopped onto a bus heading towards Indah Park. I was not sure if we were ready for a steep and winding climb up the hill in this wet condition. We arrived at the hillside alas and began to hike up about a mile of the Gagak trail.

It was a harsh climb as we were carrying heavy 10 kilo bag packs complete with sleeping bags, canned food and bottles of mineral water. I was the only one bringing the tent as the others did not possess one. Along the climb we stopped to rest for at least three times. At one place, we encountered a huge snake hissing at us from a bush about 10 metres away. We were lucky not to be bitten by it. We caught glimpse of the beautiful hornbills, bluebirds and a Rufous Collared Kingfisher. After approximately forty minutes of walking, we finally arrived at our destination, in the middle of an open forest quite near to the breathtaking Indah Waterfall.

“Now, let’s start pitching the tent,” Yus ordered. We loyally obeyed her command as we were the ones who chose her to be the group leader, being the oldest among us. It was already noon and we took out cans of sardines and loaves of bread for lunch before doing more exciting activities of discovering nature. Yus and Suhaila went to fetch some water, Farah and Ainul prepared the meal, Dayang laid out a mat for us to enjoy the moment of leisure in the forest. I was instructed to search for firewoods.

“Don’t go too far out,” Yus reminded.

Happily I went on my way gathering as many branches and twigs as I came across on my path. “This should be enough for at least two days,” I thought to myself as I had collected a bundle of them. As I turned around, I suddenly tripped over a branch and fell down flat on my leg. “Ouch! My ankle,” I moaned. I could not lift myself up as the pain on my twisted ankle was excruciating. I did not realize I was too far away from the tent. Moreover, I left my mobile with Yus. “How can I ask for help?” I wonder. At moment like this, all I could think of was my teacher’s advice. ‘If you are lost in the forest, you need to sit quietly at that particular spot until someone finds you. This will ease the searching work’. I did exactly that. Sit and wait.

Staring at the sky, it had grown darker. The dark grey cloud was pregnant with rain. I prayed hard that someone in my group would notice that I was missing.

Tick…tick…tick. The sound of water dropping onto the leaves. I gathered all my strength, lifted my hips and tried to move to a big tree nearby. Before I could even blink my eyes, the rain started pouring cats and dogs. I sat myself under the huge tree, holding the bundle of firewood to my chest. All kinds of thoughts came to my mind.

“I shouldn’t have come. There have been too many obstacles. It’s afternoon and it does not look like it,” I whined. Did I make the wrong decision? I questioned myself.

I must have dozed off. When I opened my eyes, the thick lianas hanging and gripping onto the hundred- foot-tall trees greeted me. I could hear the sound of the creatures of the forest. Insects chirping, the geckos in the hide calling. It was strangely soothing. I felt at peace as the symphony continued to play in my ears.

“Sheeda! Where are you?” Ainul’s call came piercing into my ears.

“Hey! I’m over here,” I shouted back in relief. I saw my friends running towards me. I told them what had happened. Dayang and Suhaila kindly helped me up while Ainul and Yus got into the motion of snapping pictures of the nature.

In the end, we spent the three-day break enjoying the beauty of mother nature. I realized that I had made the right decision.

By: Nursheeda (Form 5S1, 2010)