( Advanced Level )
It was a normal Friday afternoon as Megan left work. She was looking forward to the weekend and her Christmas dinner on Sunday. She hadn’t any special plans other than sitting at home watching movies and enjoying turkey and all the trimmings delivered by a local restaurant.
For the past two weeks, it had been tough not only for her but her students. Her students grounded to finish their mid – term exams. With all testing completed the day before the students felt free from all stress leaving classes on Friday in utter chaos.
Megan didn’t mind that the students had been a little naughty. She felt they deserved to blow off steam. She remembers those days of cramming for exams and being elated once they were behind her.
She called for her ride and waited a few minutes until he arrived. She noticed the fees had gone up in recent days due to the holidays. This was the time when the drivers could make upward of half of their monthly salary in two weeks.
Knowing this, the competition amongst the other drivers is fierce. Each wants to make as much money as they can. They drive beyond the boundaries of being tired. Picking up their passengers, dropping them off, and then repeating for hours. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal situation for any passenger.
Megan waited for her ride as she did every day. Her driver quickly responded to her location and she immediately noticed her driver was a larger man leaving a limited seating area for his passengers.
He greeted her as he passed her a helmet which she quickly placed on her head, clicking the chin strap tight. This is a routine that Megan was very familiar with. Her driver verified her destination with her then off they went.
Megan’s thoughts drifted to the upcoming weekend. After two weeks of review and testing, she was looking forward to a relaxing quiet weekend. Instead of her driver turning right, going through a quieter residential area he turned left. This would take them onto a busy street.
She grimaced. One thing Megan hated was traffic, especially being on the back of a motorbike. Her briefcase strap was around her neck and nestled onto the opposite shoulder but she decided to tuck her right hand under the handles, looping the handles over her wrist.
She had already experienced an incident where two men on a motorbike drove by tearing her small bag off her shoulder and driving away with its contents. They had stolen her phone, money and all her identification and she didn’t want to experience this again. She had learned the hard way.
Her driver drove carelessly in and out of traffic. She noticed he repeatedly used his bike’s horn. She wondered if this was to alert drivers he was there or if it was to let others to get out of his way. Either way, she was uncomfortable.
The next thing she remembers was her driver darting around a slower driver then she felt the impact. The impact sent her over her driver’s right shoulder and onto the paved sidewalk. She lay there half on the sidewalk and half in a ditch filled with muddy water.
With the wind knocked out of her she couldn’t move. She heard people around her as she lay there. Once her breath returned she was able to raise her head and she saw a pair of hands. Hands that were rough and showed they had seen a lot of hard work.
She hadn’t looked up past those rugged hands. She was still collecting her bearings and what had just happened in a matter of seconds. She waved off the hands to signify to give her time.
Lifting herself finally to a sitting position. The pain in her chest was almost unbearable. Megan looked around and noticed her driver was standing and trying to get what was left of his motorbike out of the way.
She remembers his head hitting the back doors of the truck. “How could he be standing?” she thought to herself.
Megan was trying to process everything. She saw bystanders pointing and talking. The scavengers hadn’t gone unnoticed either. The opportunists grabbed parts of the motorbike that had fallen off and ran away with them. She assumed it was a way to make a quick buck. Selling to people what they wanted to buy.
Unsure how long she sat there Megan made her way to her feet with the help of her driver. He kept asking if she was ok and she kept shaking her head yes even though the pain in her chest reminded her differently.
As she grabbed his hand she noticed she took notice. They were not the same hands that had reached out to her earlier. Her driver’s hands were large but softer. They hadn’t shown years of hard work. It was shrugged off as she thought it may have been someone in the crowd that had gathered and tried to help her earlier.
Arrangements were made to get her home. Her driver was apologetic but at the time Megan didn’t care. He was negligent with her life. All she wanted to do is get home and get her wet and muddy clothes off, assess her damage, and rest.
That night and the following night it was almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep. Every time she turned over or tried to move the pain radiated from her ribs causing her to wince.
Megan relived the accident in her mind, remembering as much as she could. One thing she decided was not to report her driver for his reckless driving. She knew he would be immediately terminated and she couldn’t live with that on her mind. Jobs were difficult to find as it was. Hopefully, he had learned his lesson.
Megan spent her days following the accident alternating sitting and lying in her bed. She tried to concentrate on things but she found it very difficult. Maybe it was the lack of a good night’s sleep. Each day the pain subsided a little.
Christmas morning had come and she couldn’t get into the festive mood. Days before, she ordered a Christmas dinner to be delivered at noon. She anticipated eating turkey and stuffing. but under these circumstances her appetite was gone.
Her cell phone rang, It was her Christmas dinner delivery. She told the person on the other end of the phone she would be down shortly. Without an elevator, in her building, she knew it would take a little longer to get down to him than back to her apartment.
Since the accident, taking deep breaths was close to impossible without feeling much discomfort plus she was being more cautious with each step she made. Being alone she could only rely on herself so she couldn’t afford to fall or cause more damage to herself.
She arrived back in her apartment after ten minutes. She stopped a few times to catch her breath. She was annoyed with feeling the way she did. One thing she was not used to, was feeling limited. She prided herself in being active.
She placed the two bags on the table and headed to get a plate and utensils. Once she smelled the aroma of the turkey she found that she couldn’t resist trying a few pieces.
One by one she took the tiny containers out of the bags opening the lids as she did. Gravy. Cranberry sauce. Stuffing and even a piece of pumpkin pie.
She put a few pieces of turkey on her plate along with mashed potatoes and gravy. A spoonful of cranberry sauce topped the meal off. She took her first bite and quickly realized she hadn’t eaten much since the accident.
As she ate her mind drifted back to Christmas meals from the past. They were always at her grandparent’s home, on their tiny farm. Even after everyone grew up and moved away to start their new lives, Christmas was always at her grandparent’s home.
This was where Megan had spent nearly every weekend growing up. She was very close to her grandfather spending most of the time outside with him as he did his chores.
Megan continued eating, enjoying the turkey, still in deep thought, when a strange feeling came over her. She remembered those hands that reached out to her at the scene of the accident.
Then it hit her like a ton of bricks. Megan sat there trying to put the pieces in order as she sat there looking at her half – eaten plate.
When Megan was sixteen her grandfather became ill and ended up in the hospital two days before and subsequently died two days before Christmas. Megan had taken his death very hard.
Megan always believed her grandfather was with her. Even when she traveled the world. In her heart, she now knows he is still by her side. Protecting her. She hadn’t validation but she knew.
Those rugged hands that reached out were those of her grandfather. He was there. She used to hold his hand as they walked around the farm or when they went out to get a vanilla shake that grandma didn’t know about. How could she have forgotten those hands?
By all rights, Megan should have been thrown into the truck as her driver had but instead she hit his right shoulder and ended up where she had.
A sense of peace and warmth came over her. She whispered, “Thank you.” In her heart she knew it was her grandfather who protected her that day.
It would be another few weeks for Megan to fully heal and recover from the accident. She faces each day as they come. She knows she has her guardian angel walking by her side.
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Have you ever felt a breeze go by and no source? Or a noise when you know no one is around to make that noise?
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ground – verb: worked hard
utter chaos – collocation: disorder, confusion
blow off steam – idiom: get rid of pent-up energy
cramming – noun: try to learn a lot very quickly before an exam
elated – adjective: happy
fierce – adjective: intense
boundaries – noun: limits
verified – verb: justify its true and accurate
destination – noun: the place to which someone or something is going or being sent
grimaced – verb: frowned
carelessly – adverb: reckless
repeatedly – adverb: over and over again
darting – verb: move suddenly or rapidly
impact – noun: the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another
wind knocked out of (her) – idiom: to knock the air out of a person’s lungs and make him or her unable to breathe normally for a brief time
( collecting ) finding one’s bearings – idiom: to find out one’s position , surroundings
signify – verb: indication
unbearable – adjective: not tolerated
bystanders – noun: a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part
scavengers – noun: a person/ people who searches through and collects items
opportunist – noun: a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage
assumed – verb: suppose to be the case, without proof
apologetic – adjective: regretfully acknowledging or excusing an offense
negligent – adjective: failing to take proper care in doing something
assess – verb: evaluate
radiated – transitive verb: spread
wince – verb: involuntary grimace
reckless – adjective: without thinking or caring
terminated – verb: bring to an end
festive – adjective: cheerful
anticipated – verb: expect
circumstances – noun: a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action
cautious – adjective: careful
prided – verb: be especially proud of
aroma – noun: smell
couldn’t resist – idiom: did not want something, but did it anyway
(hit her like ) a ton of bricks – idiom: used to show that something happens very suddenly
subsequently – adverb: after a particular thing has happened
validation – noun: proof
Question ( s ):
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