Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Task 2 Exemplar

I know some of struggled with Task 2; so I thought I would share with you my own attempt.

I chose Track 2, and put it on my headphones really loud on a continuous loop with my eyes closed until I found myself imagining a scenario, a location, the germ of a story. The music took me somewhere, and I found the story unravelling in my imagination, and all I then had to do was write it down.

I had considered Track 9, whilst listening to which I could see a father and daughter in small sailing boat, gliding wordlessly across an azure sheet of water. Then I considered Track 8, and could picture a teenage girl, surrounded by rough, dangerous-looking boys, under a bridge on the canalside, as she takes a tablet foisted on her by one of them. But, in the end, it had to be Track 2 for me...

The ward was white – everything bleach bloodless: the air a pallid sheet, the tiny, plastic beds like cocoons, and the nurses floating around like so many ghosts. He hadn’t been able to go in at first: all he had heard outside were the screams Maggie had made before the blood fled her body, like rats from a sunken ship, screams which played a violent loop in his mind, almost accusatory in their anger, the panic and the pain demanding some relief. But he had been able to provide none. A better man might have managed to rescue her – or so he told himself – but the truth was far more final.

He could not recall the silence before the screams; and then he had suddenly remembered how Maggie had used to talk about hiccups or mouth ulcers or itching sunburn: she used to say that, when any of these things struck, it quickly became impossible to remember what life was like without them, even moments before. Briefly riding the wave of this trivial memory, he had pushed the doors and drifted into the ward.

And now, stood here statuesque in his stillness, he could no longer hear the screams. They had been wiped away like the blood which had caked the baby’s body. All he could hear was the gentle, fragile gasp of the respirator, as the baby’s chest shivered each exigent breath. But, stark amid this sea of white, a smudge of colour was appearing on her cheeks, and he knew, beyond contradiction or danger, that she was going to be all right. Together, in perfect harmony, they both exhaled.

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