We’re sat in a café
The morning sun smiles
Your empathy glistens
And it’s been a while…
A snappy decision
A sleepy refrain
We’ll leave in an hour
And there goes our train
I’m fragile and edgy
You’re patient and kind
The sun comes a scorching
I’m counting the time
The glistening building
The stage and the square
Are tinged with the colours
Of moments we share
You ask my opinion
Whilst smoothing my hair
A homely reception
We’ll go to the sea
And Arcachon shines
Upon you and me
We’re sharing the waves
With your parents close by
You show me the dunes
And the sand scalds my thighs
The cool pinewood trees
Our evening retreat
On sunburnt shoulders
Their breeze soothes the heat
And we sail the coast
We swoop high and low
Your Dad talks in rhythm
A rambling flow
And I’m thinking of you
And you’re in Bordeaux
A poem by Sam Allen (ISB teacher, poetry blogger, and life coach). To read more of her poems, go to her website at http://www.peacockpoetryblog.wordpress.com For a free no obligations 30 minute demo coaching session, please contact her through email at: email@example.com
The four-minute mile (1609 m) is one of the great barriers of the running world, placing itself among the sub-ten second 100 m and the sub-two-hour marathons. The mile race started in England, where it was first intended as a race for gambling, much like horse racing. As times for the mile slowly dropped, the four-minute mark evolved as the time to beat.
The first officially recognized sub-four-minute mile was achieved by British athlete Roger Bannister in 1954, running a time of 3:59.4 at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Track. Others were quick to follow, with John Landy of Australia breaking four only two months later at the Vancouver Commonwealth Games. Fast forward a few decades and there are now over 6,000 individual times (for men) breaking four. The current record is held by Moroccan track athlete Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of 3:43.13, broken in 1999 Rome, Italy. So far, the closest female athlete to four minutes is Svetlana Masterkova of Russia with a time of 4:12.56.
So how hard is it to run a sub four-minute mile? Obviously, the TV doesn’t do the athletes justice as they sprint round (roughly) four laps of the track. To run a four-minute mile, you would need to run at an average speed of 24.14 km/h. To put this into perspective, ISB’s treadmill maxes out at a speed of 18 km/h. How about the fact that you would need to cover 100 m in 14.91 seconds, 16 consecutive times?
So, you think you can break four? Well it is quite feasible provided you are determined and skilled enough. The first high school student to accomplish this feat was Jim Ryun, with a time of 3:59.0. Since then, only a handful of high school athletes have dipped under four and/or improved on Ryun’s time. The current global high school record stands at 3:53.43, which was set by Alan Webb in May of 2001.
R.I.P Roger Bannister
March 23rd, 1929 – March 3rd, 2018
Antoine Graham (MYP5)
“I really hate life right now,” I mutter quietly as I am hobbling along the dimly lit hall. I whip around, only to hear the sound of boots. What, already more of them? I feel like screaming out loud, like a banshee on her bad hair day. The footsteps echo all over the halls, with no chance of quieting down.
“Hello Hazel,” I hear a voice say. I turn around and reply, “Hello, female dog,” to which I find hidden cameras directed towards me. I totally forgot they were there.
“Hmm, at least you got some manners,” replies the voice booming all around me. I roll my eyes and walk closer towards the sound of the voice.
“Come here and I’ll show you some manners, Rousell,” I say with a smile on my face. At this point, politeness is the least of my concerns.
The voice groans. “Come on, Hazel.” Her voice is softer now. “We’ve known each other for almost ten years, it’s Michelle”.
I clench my jaw. “If you call training me to be a killer and putting a gun to my parents’ heads every day ‘getting to know each other’, then yeah, I should be calling you Michelle.”
“You know better than that, I did it for your own go-”
I can’t take it anymore. I fire at the walls hoping to hit the microphones. Instead I hit the cameras and take out the lights.
When the lights go completely out, I hear Rousell say, “Nice attempt Hazel, but we both know you can’t hide from me.” I spin around, knowing I won’t be able to get far in the corridors, mainly because they either are already overrun with soldiers, or soon will be.
“Isn’t that what you taught me to do, Rousell, to hide from everybody and anybody?” I continue to survey my surroundings.
Of course, she tries to further the conversation. “Where will you go Hazel? If you ever manage to escape,” she asks curiously.
“Hmm, I hear Seychelles is great around this time of the year. Or maybe Thailand, love the food.”
“I expected you to be a city tourist.”
I hold back my anger and maintain my sarcasm. “You don’t know me, do you? After a decade of being cooped up in the same room for hours every day, I expected you would know me better. I am very disappointed in you, Rousell.”
Just at that moment, I spy a vent hatch. Finally, a stroke of luck. I lift the hatch and am just about to climb in when a thought crosses my mind. What is taking the soldiers so long to get here? Did Rousell tell them to stop so she could chat to me in private? No, she would never do that. She wants me to be in custody as quick as possible, so she doesn’t have to worry about the potential risk of my escape. Not to mention, why hasn’t she responded to my last comment? I strain my ear to listen carefully, but I can’t hear footsteps or any other sound. It’s like an eerie silence in a horror movie, just before someone gets killed. It sends shivers down my spine, like someone just stroked me with a feather.
“Hazel, Hazel, dear please don’t leave me here,” pleads a quiet voice coming from inside the vents.
I freeze. What the hell? It can’t be possible. I back away from the vent. “Hazel, you can’t leave me and your father here all alone,” continues the voice.
My whole body feels paralyzed. I panic and scream at the top of my lungs, “No, no, no! Rousell, please stop this!”
My back touches the wall. My chest feels so tight that I can’t breathe. It can’t be possible, I think to myself again. That voice was my mother’s, except that that’s impossible. She’s supposed to be dead. She has to be dead. I know she is.
I hear Rousell’s voice coming back on the microphone. “You should listen to your mother, Hazel,” she taunts. “You can’t leave your father or her here, in a strange place with no one to help them.”
“What do you mean?” I scream back. Panic washes over me and my hearts starts beating faster. “How is this possible?! This can’t be happening! They’re, they’re supposed to be – be dead.” My body remains paralyzed as I realize a body resembling my mother crawls towards me in the dark. She looks exactly like her, but I feel in my heart that can’t be my mother. As she stands up, she has a mournful expression on her face.
“How could you leave me here, Hazel?” Her voice is low and full of sorrow. “You left me all alone. After what you did to your father and me, you need to stay. You must to pay for what you have done.”
“No, no, no”, I scramble around trying to get away from, from this thing, that has my mother’s face and voice but isn’t her.
Suddenly she lunges at me, pinning me to the rough wall. I scratch at the surface, inching to get away.
She pulls at me violently. “Now, my dear beloved daughter, don’t you want a hug from your mother?”
“You are not my mother!” I scream at this thing, at this monster I can’t describe.
It slaps me across the face. “How dare you!” It hisses up close, “I am your one and only mother!”
I yell angrily, “My real mother would never slap me!”
“Well Hazel, my real daughter would never kill me,” the thing replies smugly.
At this I am stunned into silence.
“I didn- didn’t mean to, I didn’t know what I was doing, it was an accident,” I stammer. I have no more words. I purse my lips and try to stop my body from shaking.
She cackles maniacally. “An accident! When you finished, there was no sign of remorse!”
I just stare at the ground, unable to reply or to even look the thing in the eye. She sneers and continues, “I think it’s important that you learn the consequences of killing your parents. How about this!”
She lunges for my gun, and I don’t do anything to stop her. At this point, I’m so overtaken by fear that I can’t move a muscle in my body. The thing shrieks in amusement as I’m left facing her, unable to defend myself.
I take a breath and call out to Rousell, hoping that she hears my voice and takes pity on me. “You’ve proven your point, Rousell! Please just shut off whatever this is!” My cry is met with deafening silence. I ball my fists angrily. The one time I want to hear her voice, I hear nothing. Why the hell is she not responding?
“Oh Hazel, I’m afraid Rousell won’t be able to help you. I took care of her.” She has a wicked smile on her face.
I look at the gun, and realize that the safety is off and I had just had replaced it with a full magazine. “What are you going to do with that?” I ask.
Her smile reveals crooked teeth. “Oh this? I don’t know, maybe shoot people? I mean that is what this, was invented for.” She has an insane look in her eyes, like she’s about to go on a killing spree. She adds, “Oh don’t worry Hazel, I would never harm you.”
I gather my courage and decide to ask her whether she killed Rousell.
“Of course, I killed her! She destroyed my family, not to mention you.”
I take a step back. “What is wrong with you?! My mother would never kill somebody!”
She just smiles at that.
“Why are you smiling?” I scream.
She lifts one of her fingers to the trigger. “Because your real mother wouldn’t kill you.”
Before I can do anything, she raises the gun and fires at my heart. She hits it right on mark. I stumble away from her. She just – just shot me! I can’t believe I’m bleeding! The blood seeps into my clothing and soaks half of my T-shirt.
“I always thought you looked good in red,” remarks my fake mother.
I lay on the floor looking up at her. I can feel the blood pooling around me. Blood is very sticky and wet. Very hard to wash out.
“Go on and end it,” I mutter to her.
She raises the gun above my head. Then she lowers it down back to my heart. Bang! The round goes in my heart. I taste blood as it drips out of my mouth. I am breathing heavily, and my heart is feeling even heavier than ever.
“Goodbye, darling,” she says soothingly. She flashes me her horrible smile and walks off into the distance as I’m left on the ground all alone in the darkness.
This is the first installment of Coldhearted, a novel by Uma Naicker (MYP3).
Away from Minutiae there lies a lush land
Let dark blue ink run down your page
For a free no obligations 30 minute demo coaching session, please contact her through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org