Sample Submitted Paper

Nguyễn Vân Mai

Please note: The paper below is just a sample, not an official paper summited for the writing contest.

* Topic: Short story
* Title: Until the storm comes
* Writer's name: Lê Diệu Linh
* Class and high school: A1 98-00 Hà Nội - Amsterdam
Email : [email protected]
Telephone: +1-000-000-0000
Address: #10 English Street, H-A-O city, Sample country

Until the storm comes

It is raining hard outside. I lean by the window, eagerly watching every tumultuous movement in the gray, stormy sky above. At times, a clap of thunder startles me and then some streaks of lightning flash, leaving me electrified. Still I curiously raised my head out of the window, wondering where those lightnings will meet after briskly sailing across the sky.

Storms have always invoked in me a feeling of both fear and excitement. Strokes of rain make the surrounding become blurred, flickering images. The once blue, placid sky looks tattered and scratched by streaks of lightning. Houses, roads, trees – everything that seems stable to me- become shapeless, unified, rocking like crazy in the violent whirlwind. Suddenly everything familiar to me has a strange, fierce look which I have never known before. Suddenly I feel myself so small, helpless in the raging storm, just like the way I used to feel as a child whenever I must stay at home alone.

Storms also strike me with their destructive power and their callous joy in making my already run-down surroundings look even more pitiful. The enraged rain distorts the nearby houses’ façades, exposing to light their threadbare walls and leaking rooftops. Pedestrians struggle to look for shelters. Almost all of them are wet to the skin; their clothes are dirty and they sniffle and cough once in a while. Some shoe-shining kids meddle with their tools, their stoic faces look more than sad; they are not going to make any money that day. Looking at people hurdling aimlessly in rain, I feel the misery quite discerning, and in a while can’t help cringing at the thought that I may someday be out in the cold too.

Though thunder storms scare me, they also arouse in me an inexplicable eagerness. Just like the way a child keeps anticipating spooky ghost stories even though they know that they will be teetering with fear, I wait to watch storms with a desire to conquer the unknown. I feel frightened when seeing lightning and thunder tearing mercilessly the clouds. Yet, I feel an unconscious desire to get over my fear. From time to time I keep wondering how it will be like if I am out there, trembling but fervent with enthusiasm; how it will be like if I am courageous enough to rush out in the storm. It may sound strange but violent storms give rise to my desires to reveal strength and even spontan
eity – the traits that are stranger to my usually calm and self-controlled appearance.

Storms not only inspire me, they also relieve my sadness. Facing that nature’s anger, I suddenly realize that my sadness is so flimsy. While the blue, tranquil sky lulls my sorrow to sleep, the gray, lightning-stricken sky awakens it, smashes it to pieces. The rain washes those splinters away, leaving me fresh and reborn.

The ambivalence lingers on even after the thunder dies down and the sky clears up. As usual I would rest by the window, trying to calm down the wavering feelings inside. It stirs up my quiet and somewhat tedious life for a while. Still, the mixed feelings it leaves keeps me wondering how to break up the routine I am set in and waiting for something new and different, until another storm comes.

Lê Diệu Linh
Hanoi - Spring 2002

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