37 4. Sample Narrative Essay



“You need to get into Johnson High with me. Trust me June,” my friend Brandon said, determined to persuade me. “You need a fresh start. Plus, you’ll have me! This is what you need. You will do so much better. They treat you like adults there. I will help you.”

I was uneasy about the idea. I was, after all, completely lost in my life. How much lower could I sink before I finally took his advice? Or anyone else’s, for that matter? I twisted and untwisted the phone cord around my index finger nervously. My slippers scuffed the ugly, dusty tile floor.

“Are you sure? How would I even get there every day? I’m not sure… I don’t know how my parents will take it…”

I paused. I didn’t even know what to think anymore. I had no idea where I even stood with my parents. I hadn’t spoken to them in weeks. I hadn’t seen them in almost two months. What were they going to do to me when I finally saw them? I looked around me. The realization of where I was came back to me, as it did, in waves. The alarmingly, canary yellow walls were meant to bring life to this dead place, I’m sure. The heavy, burgundy, cloth chairs clashed with the color of the walls. They were so heavy to avoid them from being able to be thrown. God, where had I fallen… I didn’t belong here, I told myself.

“Trust me,” Brandon’s words interrupted my drifting mind. “It’s what’s best for you. They’ll probably go for it. Try it, and I’ll take you under my wing there. I run the school anyways.” Jonathan chuckled at this. I could imagine the smirk on his smug face, and it made me smile. I missed him.

Brandon was a 5’11” carbon copy of Bender from The Breakfast Club, and I told him so often. He has been a good friend of mine since we were 12 years old, when I happened to three-way call him for a girl friend of mine to see what he honestly thought of her. Ah, nothing like silly, adolescent, puppy love. The plan completely backfired when he expressed his disgust for poor Sarahl. Somehow, though, he and I became very close confidants, and quickly. Insecure, as most girls are when they’re young, I had my own defense mechanisms. I would make jokes about myself, things that I knew were considered flaws.

So, when Brandon suggested switching high schools to better my focus, I truly considered it.

“Okay, okay. I will definitely do my best to push for it,” I said, a small grin on my face. It felt good that someone cared at that moment. That even one person DID care enough to answer my calls. “I have to go now, though. It’s almost lights out, and there are other girls complaining to use the phones.”

“Call me and keep me informed on when you get out,” he said quietly. “I’ll be here.” I could still feel his disbelief and worry for me in his tone when he said this. It came and went during our recent conversations.

I gave my last hurried good-bye and hung up the receiver of the phone. I turned around to see the next girl in line to use the phone. She was a petite, suicidal 12 year old dressed in red, plaid pajama pants with a dirty white t-shirt. It was faded, and looked more beige than white. Her hair was brown, and matted in places, from clear neglect, and it hung in her eyes.

“It’s your turn” I said, avoiding eye contact. I quickly handed her the phone and briskly headed for my room.



Once in my room, I quickly dove into my bed. I say bed, but it was more of a cot. I hid under my stale, white sheets that distinctly smelled of bleach and hospital. My mind raced a mile a minute. Eventually, I heard the nurse turn off the lights and lock our doors for the night. I was in a hospital, one I wasn’t sure of when I would ever leave, and it was hell. How did I find myself in this situation? Life can be too painful at times. There are times where someone is just not strong enough to face their own reality. I had found myself at that point. I was 16 years old, on the run from home, and had just lost her boyfriend to some monsters who killed him. I had hit rock bottom, and had no hope left in my heart. I felt like I belonged to no one, and had no purpose. In my own heartache, I made a stupid choice that landed me in this mad house. What could I do?

Every day, I called my family and my friends, over and over. I just reached out and reached out, afraid and at my weakest, in hopes of someone reaching back to me. I ached to feel someone cared. No one came to visit, or had even spoken to me. No one answered my calls, or made me feel any less alone. And oh, how I felt alone in the world during that time.

I say no one, but that’s not quite accurate. The ONLY one who answered was Brandon. And I felt I clung to his every call and word like he was my savior. “I’ll help you… I’ll take you under my wing there.” His words echoed in my head as I lay in bed. Yes, I am not alone. I can trust him. He will take care of me. And so, his words carried me through my days there, and gave me hope. That someone still believed in me, gave me strength and determination to fix my situations in life.

The day I was finally released from my nut house nightmare, I remember the anticipation to get home to see Brandon. I remember the anxiousness I had to just feel his calming presence again. I remember seeing him at my door, white t-shirt, blue jeans, and an Atlanta Braves cap on backwards. He was leaning against one of the brown pillars in front of my house. His scruffy face smiled at me, and he embraced me. He held me for a long time, like he just knew how much I had been hurting. He sat with me, and there with me, he began helping me plan my next few steps to changing my life. There’s a saying that “Even shadows leave you at the darkest moments.” But Brandon was no shadow. He was, and is one of my best friends.


Eng. 101 Student

This is a very nice narrative, about 1,000 words. It is filled with action, dialogue, descriptions. How much time takes place here? How much time is involved in the action of the story? How does she move from phone to real life? How appropriate is the dialogue? How does she use active verbs to strengthen the essay?


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