Below are two contrasting descriptive pieces I wrote for an English assignment.
I look out the windows of my office. The clouds have rolled in and the sky has turned gray. I smile. This is my kind of weather. Not for its dullness or gloom but for its strange calm and cold. I close the document I’m inspecting- a manuscript for a book that came in today, another one of those dystopian novels with the gorgeous perfect heroine who fights the dark forces along with the outrageously handosme guy who she ends up kissing at the end of the day. Writers need to come up with new ideas because if they don’t, I might die of boredom.
I drop it into my handbag, sandwiching it between a pouch of pens and tickets to Sunday’s movie. I sign the timesheet on my way out, assuring Sandra I would be at her place for dinner tomorrow. The receptionist had taken a liking to me the instant she found out I liked Linkin Park. As sweet as it was for her to invite me over for dinner, I don’t think I can stand hours of ‘why Mike Shinoda is underrated’. (I’m not that big of a fan anyway. I might have mentioned I like a few of their songs). But I’ve heard Sandra makes amazing food, so might as well take the opportunity.
The wind caresses my face as soon as I step out of the building. It feels cool and refreshing; and I love it. There aren’t many people on the street, which is strange considering it’s a Friday afternoon. Traffic is down a notch and the roadwork on the adjacent street has wound up. The wind blows across my face once again, this time bringing with it the aroma of fresh bread from the bakery down the block. I smile. A perfect day to sit back and read on an armchair by the window with a mug of tea. I step down onto the pavement just as the rain pours down.
I’m taken aback slightly as I dodge the raindrops and step back into the shelter of fhe publishing house. I don’t have an umbrella, I register immediately. The rain won’t last much long, I assure myself. This is just one of those momenatry showers that came down once in a while to wash of all the dust-covered lampposts. I wait silently for the rain to condense into a drizzle.
It’s beautiful. The rain; it’s beautiful.
It comes down in torrents, making it hard to make out anything around me. But I can see the blurred lights of the cafe opposite, its golden shimmering through the raindrops. The newly tarred road which leads to the block where my apartment lies, shines and glistens, showing off its newness. A bird flies in from the distance and seats itself on alower branch of the oak tree that has been standing in that spot behind the gorcer’s for as long as I can remember. I don’t miss out the tiny details either. How the water dances across the road as it is carried in beautiful waves over the asphalt. How the lampposts on the street look in the rain- elegant and shiny and proud- like those from the vintage photgraphs. I resist the urge to whip out my phone and take a photo of the scenery then and there, probably adding a filter and posting it to Instagram, accompanied by pointless hashtags. No, beautiful moments like this need to be felt and enjoyed, not spend wasted for likes.
I inhale in the cool air. The smell of the earth, after water dampens it, wafts around me and I think it’s the best smell in the world. I’d heard from a friend that it was actually a chemical that leeched out of the soil when water seeps in. The wonders of nature.
I stand there for a very long time, breathing in and out, feeling the cold press around me and the sound of rain filling my ears. Someone, probably Sandra, offers me an umbrella, but I wave it away.
I am disappointed when the rain eventaully stops and he sky turns a shade brighter. The magic disappears and I walk home in silence, summoning the rain back into my mind.
Definitely a mug of tea. And reading.
I am standing outisde the front steps of the publishing house. I have no idea why I’m outside in this wretched heat when there is an air conditioenr working perfectly well in my office. Probably to get away from all the noise inside. The arrival of summer has welcomed a drastic increase in the number of clients at the office, now that everyone has time to sit down and write away, which hasn’t done anyone at the editorial any favours. We now have to work overtime to finish projects on time and the heat is unbearable. Some people including the receptionist has gone as far as to install their own new table fans on their desks. I am lucky I have an air-conditioned room all to myself although it did invite a lot of unecessary visits from those who wanted to ‘stop by and chat’.
I tie my hair into a bun and wipe my forehead with my handkerchief. The street looks empty and lifeless. The film of dust covering every surface, from the tree leaves, to the cafes windows to the cars parked on the sides, is depressing. I remember how beautiful the day looked in that shower only a month ago. I hate summer. Even from this distance, I can feel the heat radiating off the asphalt as the sun shines in all its glory right above. It gleams off the lampposts and blinds me for a moment when I try to look up. I can hear the buzzing of fans from all the buildings down the street. I imgaine their occupants swatting at flies, and using newspapers and magazines as makeshift fans. I adjust my collar and remove my ID card, to enjoy the breeze that is blowing across. It’s warm. I sigh.
I consider getting cold lemonade from the cafe opposite. The supply at the office had run out a while ago. I walk across the street, enjoying the strange feel of an empty road. There is no traffic to worry about today. I stand right in the centre of the road for some time and smile like an idiot until I realise the sun is burning me. I hope no one saw that. When I reach for the cafe’s door, I notice the wilted flowers out front. They haven’t bothered watering it. I frown and then remember that I haven’t watered my own plants sitting on the windowsill of my office. Oops.
I pull away a strand of hair sticking to my forehead and open the door. To my relief, there is an AC. I slump down in front of a table as Mitch the waiter hurries over to me.
‘Warm isn’t it?” He asks me. Mitch has served me on all my visits to the cafe. I nod.
“Sure”, he says. “Anything else?” I shake my head and he’s off.
Within the next few minutes, I have emptied three glasses of lemonade and bought a bottle of cold mineral water. I pay Mitch and walk out, making sure I waste a few drops of precious water on the wilted jasmines.
The effect of the lemonade is instantly washed away as soon as I step into the sun. Moving from the air-conditioned room into the sun only made the heat worse. An icecream truck slowly comes around the corner and halts in front of the office. I see Sandra sprinting out the front door, waving her dollar bills in the air, desperate for an icecream. I walk past her into the building, ignoring the delicious smell of vanilla. I have wasted precious time already. I still have to finsish inspecting the draft that came in today. When I step into my office, the air-conditioner is a luxury.