Back to routine

Summer is over, autumn is here,
I know these are words you don’t want to hear,
No one on earth likes an early start,
waking up with shivers whilst it’s still dark.

I have a piece of advice for you,
start your morning’s off with a hearty brew!
For me, it’s the best way to wake up,
You could say it’s like heaven in a cup.

There is no more waking up at noon,
and it’s time to leave your duvet cocoon.
School is calling and so is your work,
but you can see your friends, so that’s a perk!

Swap the telly for a good old book,
and take pride in how you’re going to look
because a new year is a fresh start,
UNI is next year so I must be smart!

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The Past

There is nothing stronger,
than the feelings from your past,
It may take you longer,
but you’ll forget them at last,
I know that it is sad,
to block out what happened then,
But that is what you had,
and you don’t want that again,
If you can, brave a smile,
even if it is pretend,
It will be hard for a while,
but this is not the end,
You deserve to be happy,
with somebody you love,
Although you may get snappy,
remember you’re free of,
Crying ‘til you fall asleep,
and dreading the next day,
Walking away was a leap,
so try living in today.

Unheralded Danger

Ever since the haunting night when I tragically lost Emily, nothing was the same. Weekly traditions were broken and I felt lonely at least 3 times a day. But I braved a smile as often as I could and managed to continue with my daily routine despite how difficult it was to do so.

Months had now passed but I still missed her every day. Her deep blue eyes and her adorable freckles that multiplied in the sun… I would do anything to hold her in my arms again, to kiss her rosy cheeks and I would certainly kill to tell her how much she meant to me once more. I felt myself sinking into my past with her and I was losing control so I shook myself off and headed out of the cemetery with my signature false smile spread right across my face. New York was an incredibly busy city, even at night. There were people everywhere I looked. So why did I feel so isolated and alone?

I walked down a quiet alley close to my flat but before turning left towards my home, I couldn’t help but glimpse over at the little traditional Chinese take-out with the florescent waving cat sign. Emily and I used to get dinner from here every Friday night without fail. I sighed. Was I ready to go back in there or would it leave me feeling nostalgic? I had to get a grip; it’s just a take-out. I slowly made my way over to the entrance, but I eventually made it in and was greeted politely. I remembered what I was missing out on over the past 5 months and it made me sad, the staff were all so friendly still and unlike mine, their smiles were real. It made me feel warm inside and as if I belonged here.

I picked up a menu after about 5 minutes and decided to order a Chicken Chow Mein with Singapore fried rice, they gave me a selection of fortune cookies but only Emily was into that kind of thing yet I decided to keep one and handed the rest to a shivering homeless man a couple of feet away from the take-out. I arrived back home and sat down on my sofa, about to begin my meal before remembering that Emily and I used to open our fortune cookies before eating and discuss the message. Naturally, I smiled thinking about it and opened the cookie for old time’s sake. My smile suddenly dropped along with my stomach. My hands began to shake and I felt a shiver slowly crawl down each section of my spine. I read the message over and over again in my head until eventually the words just stumbled out of my mouth: ‘Your life is in danger, say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Say nothing’

Leaving the city didn’t sound too bad, I think I deserved a holiday… Bora Bora or Fiji… I could really do with that but fantasising was the last thing I should be doing. Or am I being ridiculous? It’s a fortune cookie; messages like this are printed in all of them. I laughed it off and tucked into my meal, it was just as delicious as I remembered. All of a sudden I heard a knock on my door, I never had visitors… I opened my door and nothing was there, I looked down and noticed a note on the doormat so I picked it up and turned it over. ‘Leave’ was all it read. I felt my stomach turn a little but I ignored this note too.

As I lay in bed all I could think about were these signs, it would be so different if Emily was here, we would make a joke out of it. As stupid as it sounds, I was genuinely quite frightened. I turned over to kiss the photo of Emily and I on my bedside table but to my shock, Emily had disappeared from the photo and instead, my arm was around a black figure. My heart began to beat exceedingly fast and I felt like I was living a nightmare. I packed as many bags as I could, jumped into my car and drove until sunrise. I was heading towards California where my parents and little sister lived.

The next day arrived and I woke up to a giant black cloud surrounding my car. The weather was never like this in California. I panicked and tried to carry on driving but my engine wasn’t switching on, I tried to open the windows, they wouldn’t budge. And then I noticed something in my mirror, someone was sat in the backseat of my car, and it wasn’t just anyone, it was Emily. I turned around and felt a tear roll down my cheek as she reached her hand out. Nothing else mattered now, I was about to feel her soft skin against mine again. I reached my hand out to touch hers but as soon as our hands met, something strange happened, the giant cloud began to get tighter and tighter and Emily’s face began to turn grey until all that was left was a black shadow… I stared down at my hand which was interlocked with hers seconds ago and mine was also turning grey. I was confused, scared and anxious. I shouted for help but nobody could hear me. I had a flashback of all the spooky happenings from the previous night and I stared through the back of my car in epiphany, watching as everything around me disappeared into nothing.

Coping with academic stress

Do you ever feel as though you can’t completely relax during the holiday periods? Is the stress of studying constantly eating away at your brain? I hope to give you some tips on how to handle this stress in a way that will also help you achieve the grades you need to succeed.

Stress is quite a common reaction when you are dealing with certain things and one of the main issues teenagers have to face today is the stress of fitting in enough revision to do well in exams. A lot of the time, adolescents don’t realise they are stressed due to the amount of work they have to complete for a certain deadline, however, it is very important that you remain placid by following several tips and maintaining a regular routine.

A vital thing you must do is continually remind yourself that everything will get better and the stress is only temporary, after you have put the effort in to succeed you will feel so positive about yourself and your work. Keep imagining the relief you will feel once you have completed the work you need to do. Obviously, stress affects you mentally however, it can also affect you physically in various ways for example; a racing heartbeat, breathlessness, nausea, headaches, tiredness, panic attacks and loss of appetite. If you suffer from any of these during studying, you know it is time to take a break. The BBC Schools website advise you take out at least 10 minutes whilst you revise to allow your brain to switch off and have a little rest. I attempted various different activities during my revision breaks ranging from watching television to eating as much as I possibly could in that short space of time but what I found most effective was to go for a short walk, just down your street or around where you live or simply a walk around your garden. I discovered that obtaining a moderate amount of fresh air clears your mind and prepares it to be bombarded with even more thoughts once your break is over.

There are more ways to beat the stress that you may be facing. You are not the only one in this position though, it is almost certain that all of your friends and peers are experiencing exactly the same feelings as you. Some people can control their stress but others can lose it and struggle a lot. Talking to your friends about what is worrying you is suggested by a lot of people as they understand what you are going through and you will be able to support each other throughout the stressful period and I can assure you, you will feel so grateful once they have helped you.

I cannot emphasise enough how important the amount of sleep you acquire is. Getting a full nights rest is required throughout the whole exam period. Teenagers are supposed to achieve 8 hours of sleep per night to function properly, especially during a stressful time. However, getting too much sleep is a bad idea and will leave you feeling weak and woozy. As one of the effects of stress is loss of appetite it is essential you eat small regular meals and be sure to drink a lot of water to prevent yourself becoming dehydrated. Because studying and the stress of it all is extremely time consuming, when teenagers are told they should exercise to help with their stress, most of them will scoff and completely ignore that advice. However, it is a proven fact that yoga is a successful way of taking your mind off your worries, teaching you to relax in the process. Another useful thing to do is produce a plan of the work you have to do, you will find that being organised with your revision will reduce panicking.

Laundrette Girl

She came in every Saturday morning. Looking remarkable each time, without fail. Her blonde, wavy hair gently fell just below her shoulders, so perfect. I could never take my eyes off her. The ringlets in her hair were incredible, the only time I had seen hair like that were on the women in 70’s Hollywood movies. Her eyes stood out for miles. A deep, blue colour, similar to the shade of the ocean and the sky, blended together. I had never been lucky enough to get lost in them but I longed to because every single time she walked into the laundrette, everything else in the room went out of focus and all I could think about was her. She always looked so defined, as if she made the effort to look remarkable all the time, she fascinated me, in so many ways. Her lips, always such a rosy red, plump and soft. I paid attention to the tiniest of details, I just didn’t know her name yet. I worked in the launderette every weekend and she would come in every Saturday and she was the only thing that kept me sane for the whole day. I would hear the little bell ring each week at 10:30am as she strutted through the glass door in her kitten heels and tiny floral dress, fitting her petite figure perfectly. I would rush to hold the door open for her every time so she didn’t have to struggle with her basket through the door and as embarrassing as it is to admit this, I wanted her to think I was a gentleman. She seemed so classy, too classy for me that’s for sure. After all, I was only a boy from London working in a launderette for a living. I doubt she had ever even looked at me twice but I really wish that she would.

It was a sunny afternoon with a slight breeze and I was sat at the desk finishing my breakfast, watching the time and preparing myself to hold the door open for her. It was 10:28am so I headed over to the door and stood by it, glancing out of the glass door, I spotted her come around the corner of the street. That beautiful hair glistening in the sunlight and those icy blue eyes looking straight towards where I was currently standing. I suddenly felt a flutter of a thousand butterflies swarm around my stomach. It was a pleasant feeling but still made me feel nervous at the least. She was like my drug each week. I waited and waited until I saw her, getting more and more worked up each second of the day but as soon as she was next to me, everything suddenly changed and it felt like we were the only two people in the universe let alone in the city. She was approaching the door fairly quickly now and I could feel a big smile begin to form on my face. She winked at me as she stepped through the door. I’m glad the sound of the bell ringing covered up the sound of my heart beating. I pretended like that wink meant nothing however, it was as if the thoughts in my mind were jumping up and down on a trampoline and all crashing into each other. It was just a wink for Gods sake, I had a tendency to over think and over analyse absolutely everything and it needed to stop. I slapped my wrist. She turned around. I panicked. What if she thought I was a psycho?
“Is this washing machine out of order?” She asked. I stuttered, a lot. But eventually the words crawled out of my mouth one by one…
“Yes, sorry about that, I’ll help you get your garments into the next machine.”  I sighed with relief inside and tried not to show this on the outside to prevent myself from getting embarrassed. She smiled beautifully and thanked me. Her teeth were so straight and so white, she had a perfect smile and that made her even more angelic. I began to help her with her basket of clothes and she thanked me again, she was so polite.

I decided that if I was ever going to talk to her, now would be the best time. I took a seat on the bench next to her, not even taking it into account that she may have found it slightly strange but I couldn’t help it. In the heat of the moment, I felt it was the right thing to do, taking an opportunity you felt was necessary. And it was necessary; the outcome of me finding the confidence to go and sit by this woman was overwhelming for me. I had lost control and found myself staring right at her, she looked to her side and I just managed disguise the fact that seconds ago, I was admiring her. To my surprise, she struck up a conversation, it was blatant small talk for a good 10 minutes but it was better than nothing. Usually when she was waiting for her laundry, she would make her way over to a small vintage tearoom a couple of blocks down, I knew this because she always left the paper coffee cup with their logo on in the launderettes bin. However, today she sat down beside me on the bench and we talked for hours on end about every little thing. She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful outlook on life and I could already feel myself getting attached to her. She had so much to say, I was almost speechless. Throughout our conversation I heard the washing machine beep a number of times but this didn’t stop her from talking to me. She continued and I certainly wasn’t complaining. Hours passed and the sky was getting darker.
“I better get going” she giggled. I told her it was lovely talking to her.
“You too sweetie” she said as she smiled that beautiful smile of hers. I went to hold the door open and all of a sudden, she kissed me on the lips, so gently but I was lost for words, I couldn’t explain my feelings. I honestly thought my heart was about to make its way out of my mouth.
“I’ll see you soon” she whispered, followed by her signature wink.

All I could do at this moment in time was nod and smile, I felt so shy and I could feel my cheeks gradually turning bright pink. I thought I was dreaming. Since that moment, I haven’t been able to function or concentrate on anything, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened, it was completely out of the blue and I was asking myself so many questions; did she like me? Would I see her again? Should I ask her out? It was driving me crazy! But I knew patience was what I needed most in this situation. I was looking forward to seeing her again, wondering if I should ask her to dinner, I was nervous, I looked at my watch, it was 10:27am, 3 minutes to go until she walks through this door, I checked my watch again, 10:28am. How can only a minute have passed since I last checked? Time was going so slowly as I waited for her by the door. A whole hour had passed now and this was unusual for her. I sighed, giving up and went to sit down. The weather outside was sunny but this definitely didn’t anticipate my mood, I felt glum. And this made everything else seem glum too. Maybe she’s hanging her clothes out on the line, I thought. I didn’t even know why I felt so down, I just really wanted to see her.

The next morning on my way to the launderette  I slowed down as I approached the little vintage tearoom in the hope that she would be sat inside. And there she was. But she wasn’t alone. I watched her as she leaned in to a handsome looking man and kissed him gently on the lips, just as she had done with me only a week ago. I realised she had given me false hope and I swear in that moment, my heart shattered into millions of tiny pieces.

And I still didn’t know her name.