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An essay about the worst day of your lifefor tomorrow, said the English teacher. Sounds simple, I thought, everybody has been through bad days. So, I realized the challenging part of writing that essay would be searching in the palace of my memory. Then I would choose the worst of those black, cold, wrong and endless days. The math, the chemistry, and the literature teacher were not aware of my English writing project, which was due the next day. Since that was the case, they neither worried nor doubt about filling giant blank spaces on their messy boards with assignments that, supposedly, were the simplest that could exist. And they were due next day.
After school, I began thinking about my essay for the English class. No good ideas came to my mind. Of course that I have been through bad days, but at that time my mind was busy somewhere else; it was in my uncles house. I almost forgot! My family and I were visiting uncle Lazaro that afternoon. Anyway, I kept on searching for that lost rainy day; the hunt continued in the palace of my memory. And meanwhile, as the distance between the school and Lazaros home was getting shorter, the shadows of people in the streets was growing longer.
I was not deeply worried about the assignments but I noticed I was unconsciously beginning to hurry. Doing homework in the car while my brother sang Merry Christmas was not a very pleasant experience. He sang it once, he sang it twice, and then he yelled merry Christmas and a happy new year! out of the window, over and over again. What a bad song for this day, I thought, we are in the ides of March, not in December! But my brother did not seemed to care much about it, neither did my youngest brother, who joined joyfully to the fantastic celebration.
At the garden in the backyard, which seemed to be the only available and quiet place in my uncles circus, I struggled to graph the simplest parabola that could exist. Suddenly, the hands of my watch began to make me feel ill. Tic, tic, tic, tic, tic I could not believe that! This was one if those days in which everything seems to have an agreement to mess up your life. There was a closet right behind me (it is always a good idea to have a closet in the garden in case you do not know where to put your watch or anything that could be annoying while solving math). I took off my watch, tic, tic, tic, and observed its round face with a pitiful sense of guiltiness. I stared at it for a considerable large amount of time, and for a moment I thought the batteries went death. Tic, tic. I thought wrong. I opened slowly the door of the closet, tic, I could almost feel the fearful trembling of the three little hands, tic tic tic. My left hand pulled slowly the door as an almost imperceptible whining came out from it. I felt the whine as a warning. Dont open me, I could hear far away inside my imagination. But I was enjoying it, I was sure that the watch was suffering and begging forgiveness, asking me to have mercy on it. Tic no more, my friend, I said out loud. Then I realized, too late, that the closet was not used specifically to put watches in it. All kind of crystal bottles and bags full of dust felt to the floor after hitting me, wetting me, dusting me
At home, more homework and, naturally, for tomorrow. The Miserable, from page 13 to 169. Finally, I understood what irony is all about. Had this day been 13th I would have believed I was on one of those nightmares. But now it is two days later for that to be true. If only the essay would have been about nightmares, I would have plenty of material to choose from. Unfortunately, nightmares was not to be the theme of our essay.
What could I write about? I had solved analysis problems, I had read one hundred and fifty pages, and I still had to write a poem about the emptiness of the atom. Unfortunately, my memory was dead. The palace of my memory was empty, empty as an atom. Well, at least I got an idea of how to start my poem. A bad idea, by the way, but I began my the scientific poem.
By the time I ended my poem there were no shadows. There were two reasons for that: the first one was because there was no sun anymore; and a second reason was because the light was gone. So I could say that I wrote the poem at the light of the candles. Arent we more nothing than anything? questioned the last sentence what I just wrote. I realized I was in a really negative mood that day.
The gray smoke escaping through the window was the only remain of the tongue of light that burned out from the candle. The palace of my memory was empty, as empty as a moonless night sky. And so was that night: silent, lonely, guilty. The blank piece of paper in which my most miserable day was to be described was as shameful as a day without light. And so it has been that day: gross, miserable.
My eyes were already closed and I was making my way into a dream, or a nightmare, when suddenly the lights turned on. I woke up, turned off the lights, and sat on my chair. The candle that had been necessary just some hours ago, was then going to be my special guest. With my little guest shining like a crazy diamond, I took my pen and a blank piece of paper. And that day was the worst day of my life.
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