A Narrow Escape

“No…!” Joe screamed. He could only watch as Ah Ma got knocked over by the car. He woke suddenly. It was that same nightmare again. He was sweating profusely and he had goosebumps all over him. Scenes of that horrifying incident came flooding back to him …

It was a typical Wednesday. Ah Ma had fetched Joe home from school and they walked home briskly together. When they got home, Joe threw his bag against the wall, sat down on his comfortable armchair and started playing his favourite computer game, ‘Minecraft’. “Ah Boy, come have your lunch now! you still have tuition later on!” Ah Ma called out to Joe from the kitchen,

“Later! I need to complete this level!” Joe replied, his fingers vigorously moving on the keyboard.

“Now, please! Your mummy says you cannot be late! Ah Ma instructed as she added punches of salt into the bowls of noodles she had just cooked.

“Urgh!” Joe slammed the keyboard and shouted in vexation. Ah Ma was being so naggy, distracting him and causing him not to be able to complete the last level.

“I’m coming now!” Joe snapped back and stomped to the dining table.

He sat down at the table and started eating. “Eww… Ah Ma, why does it taste so disgusting and artificial? Your cooking stinks, I’m not eating anymore! You can eat it yourself!” he threw his cutlery into the sink and walked back into his room, slamming the door behind him. Ah Ma sat there motionless, hurt by his comments. Joe went back to his game as Ah Ma finished up her lunch.

Not long after, Ah Ma walked in and advised Joe to start on his homework. “Later, Ah Ma,” he replied impatiently, his eyes still fixed on the computer screen.

“Soon, ah, your tuition is starting in one hour’s time, after you do some homework, have to leave already,” Ah Ma nagged.

Suddenly, Joe lost control of himself. “Ah Ma, can you stop nagging? Do you know how annoying you are? I’m already thirteen, old enough to make my own decisions! I’ll get ready for tuition when the time comes! Now, just get out of my room and stop getting on my nerves!” Joe bellowed loudly at Ah Ma, not noticing the tears forming in her eyes. Ah Ma then walked out, heartbroken, rubbing away her tears that were rolling down her cheeks uncontrollably.

Twenty minutes later, Joe swung his backpack over his shoulder, put on his earphones and headed out the door.

“Ah Boy, your lunch! You forgot it! I made another set for you because you can’t go on an empty stomach, your gastric problem might come back!” Ah Ma yelled her lungs out, only to receive a cold glare from Joe. He was so engrossed listening to BTS’s new album and did not hear Ah Ma calling out to him.

Ah Ma decided to chase after him and pass him his lunch. By then, Joe was already downstairs and had started crossing the road that led from his home to the tuition centre.

“Ah Boy, stop, you forgot your lunch!” Ah Ma panted and tried her best to catch up with Joe. Passers-by looked at Joe and sniggered at the humorous scene in front of them. When Joe finally realised Ah Ma had been running after him, he turned and walked over to her, stretching his hand out for his lunchbox. He completely forgot that they were in the middle of the road.

“Por… Por…” an oncoming car that was traveling at high speed honked mercilessly at Joe as its headlights shone brightly into his eyes. He stared at the car, mouth agape with his eyes as big as saucers. He was too shocked to react and to avoid the car.

“Watch out!” Ah Ma shouted as she shoved Joe aside. He rolled over to the pavement. He watched in horror as Ah Ma was knocked down by the car.

“No…!” he screamed in horror as blood gushed down Ah Ma’s face. Her arms and legs were splayed on the road like a broken doll. Some onlookers started discussing about the situation while others gasped in shock and stood there – frozen. A man wearing a simple T-short and bermudas called the police and paramedics.

Joe rushed over and knelt beside Ah Ma, weeping buckets. “Ah Ma… you cannot die! I want to hear your nagging again… please, just wake up now. I promise to be respectful and never to yell at you again, I’m sorry for hurting your feelings.” Ah Ma lay there unconscious, still not responding to him.

Five minutes later, paramedics and policemen rushed to the scene. The paramedics did some simple first-aid on Ah Ma and brought her to the hospital. Joe followed Ah Ma into the ambulance and he prayed to God that she would be fine. At the hospital, Ah Ma was wheeled into the Operation Theatre. Joe was not allowed to go in, so he waited outside anxiously. He felt like his heart was like a lion ready to leap out of its cage.

When Joe finally calmed down, he contacted his parents and told them about the situation. He got a severe tongue-lashing from his parents when they reached the hospital. He hung his head low as he was too guilty and ashamed to face his parents.

A few hours later, Ah Ma was wheeled out of the Operation Theatre and warded in the Intensive Care Unit. Ah Ma sustained a few major injuries – a fractured arm and a fractured leg. Other than that, she was fine. Joe apologized to Ah Ma for causing her to be in that state, but he was also grateful that he and Ah Ma had made a narrow escape from death.


Alethea Tai

St Hilda’s Primary School

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