Courtney Gil, 12, NAIS Pudong
As she watches her mother sew a square of fabric onto other squares of fabric, she is fascinated. Her eyes widen. She stares. The corners of her mouth twitch- will this become a new obsession? Only time shall tell...
A day later, it is all she could think about. Cardboard templates, cotton thread, fabric patterns. They flash before her eyes. Will they combine to make a blanket? A bag? She is uncertain; the only thing she knows is that she is obsessed.
After yet another day of patch-work creations whizzing back and forth through her mind, she makes a decision. She goes to her mother. She asks if she could be taught theart (the ever so mystical art) of patch-working. Her mother agrees. She is taught how to hold the fabric. She is taught how to cut the templates. Slowly now, she is told, until you get more practice. So she goes slowly. Patch-work is still all she could think about.
She spends hours sewing. She sews and she sews and she sews and she sews. The stitches cross over each other; the fabric fraying under her touch. Slowly now, she sighs, you need more practice. Frustration is not a stranger to her. She refuses to stop sewing. She must practice.
Hours become days. She sews and she sews and she sews and she sews. She pricks herself countless times; the fabric shears heavy in her hand. She grits her teeth. Slowly now, she mutters, you need much more practice. The needle draws blood. She wonders to herself: how long did her mother take to get that good at patch-work?
Days become weeks, and weeks become months. She sews and she sews and she sews and she sews. The stitches are still wonky; the fabric is unevenly cut. Slowly now, she tells herself, until you get more practice.
Months become years. She sews and she sews and she sews and she sews. Her stitches are near impeccable; the fabric shears now almost an extension of her arm. No more need to go slowly now, she knows, she has enough practice. This is where her obsession takes her.
Years become decades. Her mother passes, a patch-work quilt draped over her shoulders. She mourns, throwing her sadness into her sewing. Her stitches have not diminished in quality; the fabrics feel familiar to her touch. It’s okay to go slowly now, she thinks; you can never have enough practice. She still wonders exactly how long her mother took to be so good at patch-work.
Days become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years. She has her own daughter now. The child watches her sew, eyes widening and the corners of her mouth twitching. Will this become an obsession? Only time shall tell...
Slowly now, she tells her child, until you get more practice.
James Cartwright, 11, NAIS Pudong
Ever since being able to think, Jake had had high ambitions (being captain of the school swimming team, reaching grade eight piano, wanting to be president.) Although not everyone was overly impressed by this, his mother and father had pounding headaches from hours of tuneless notes being played on their piano! Jake was fairly good looking, with close cropped sandy colored hair, vibrant blue eyes and a sturdy build. At ten years old, Jake had three black belts in different forms of martial arts, he was his local football team star player and most of all stunning he was already capable of a B in politics at GCSE standard. While the majority of his achievements didn’t earn him popularity points with fellow pupils, Jake was confident of a bright future. Being an extremely ambitious boy, Jake had no time to think about anyone but him.
After a dazzling performance in his GCSE’s and A-levels Jake was a proud pupil of the California College of Politics. Choosing the most ambitious of targets-the president meant grueling class work and staff who handed out the strictest of detentions for breathing loudly. Disciplined and well-informed Jake had a high probability of running for president.
Never once going out clubbing or partying saved a considerable amount of money. With all of that spare cash, he settled down near the White House in hope of one day being situated there for work.
Many tense months sluggishly dragged by with the national talks done by presidents coming ever closer. Every call that came through sent him into an excited frenzy thinking that it could be the ambassador telling him to participate in the campaign.
Eventually, on the Monday before the speeches came to an end, when Jake had only a slither of hope left he thankfully received the most important call of his successful career. Hurriedly writing an enticing speech at short notice is a challenging task. Having to be the last candidate to speak was nerve wracking for Jake and he felt like backing out. As each talk outdid the last he became as nervous as a tabby cat cornered by a growling Alsatian. Whilst he talked all eyes and people unique in their own way were gazing solemnly at him, and a ripple of applause went through the audience as he left the stage. It then seemed as though the days flew by, and soon the same election slips were cascading into the counters offices, then being clarified by adjudicator. Once only a few votes were left to trickle in, all candidates were given a copy of the standing votes. As soon as Jake peeked at his posh letter, he instantly became devastated and his face fell… For, he had been voted for once! Because of this he sold his house and moved abroad to finally settle down as a regular old businessman.
The moral of this story is ambition is a good thing, but you must have time for and respect other people.