Guess what? (B2)

You know the feeling. A big day at school. All eyes will be on you. Tom is nervous but kind of excited at the same time ...


Do the preparation exercise first and then read the story. If you find it too difficult, try one of the lower levels. After reading, do the exercises to check your understanding.

22/09/2015    22:21
… I’m afraid of the letter 'W'.
… Yes, I stutter. So what? Get over it!

01/03/2016    19:35
… A new boy started in our year yesterday. His name’s Luke Williams. He’s Welsh. I can’t stop thinking about him.

07/04/2016    22:51
It’s going to take me ages to write about today. What a day! And I’m probably not going to post some of this anyway, but here goes …

It started really badly. The phone was ringing when I came down for breakfast and Dad was in the shower. I was feeling really good but nervous – a big day for me!!!  And so, yes, I answered it without thinking. Bad idea! It was Luke Williams. My first thought was, 'How has he got my number?'

OK, when he came up to me yesterday I just panicked. He probably only wanted to ask me what I was doing in the science fair but I couldn’t speak, of course. He just makes me so nervous. So I just walked away. He must have thought I was a complete idiot. I just want to die when I remember it. So I’m thinking, 'Why is he ringing me now?' And he just keeps saying, 'Hello … hello? Is that Tom?'

Did I tell you 'H' is my enemy too? So, trying to say hello was my second bad idea. Of course my throat just closed up completely and all that came out was that choking sound I talked about in last week’s blog. I really did want to die. And then I hear someone laughing in the background. It sounded like Ryan Colby. So I just hung up. OK, so they were ringing up to laugh at me. Nice!

08/11/2015    20:22
Some people are just evil. It’s like they’re not happy unless they’re making someone else’s life miserable. Ryan Colby has decided I’m his victim this year. He knows about me and the letter 'W'.

22/03/2016    21:30
There are good days and bad days. This blog is really helping, even if I don’t post everything I write. Music really helps too! Today was a good day. I had a long talk with Dad. The speech therapist told him about a new drug that can stop you stuttering. But guess what? I like my stutter! So does Dad. He always used to say it was my best superpower. I didn’t know what he meant but he told me today. He thinks it’s made me a much better person because I think very carefully before I speak and I’m more aware of what other people are feeling. I don’t think he knows I’m just trying to find words without 'W' or 'H' in them. We decided I don’t need drugs.

07/04/2016    22:51
So, as I said, today was a really big day for me. The last time I spoke in class was three years ago. That didn’t exactly go well. I got stuck on a 'W' and did my choking thing. Everyone, and I mean everyone, laughed. I haven’t spoken in class since.

But it’s been going really well lately. I’ve got a really good speech therapist and the good thing is I’m allowed to use my laptop in class all the time. The first thing I did was get an app that turns text into speech which is really cool! I can even make it sound like Stephen Hawking. Even the teachers liked that!

And guess what? This is really big news! When I have music on my headphones in the background I can speak without stuttering!!! That’s why I agreed to talk at the science fair today.

So I got to school early this morning to practise with my group. Our project is about using bacteria to break down plastic. Well, I think it’s really interesting. Also, the good thing is we finished school at lunchtime today!

Luke Williams was waiting by the entrance when I got there. He smiled at me. I froze. And just then Ryan Colby came up and said, 'Hey, Tom, guess what?' And without thinking I said, 'What?' Or rather, I didn’t say, 'What?' I got stuck on the 'W' and you can guess what happened then. So Ryan Colby starts laughing and there are all his friends laughing too. So yes, I turned and ran. Very brave!

I wasn’t going to take part in the presentation but then I got a text from Dad wishing me luck and telling me to use my superpowers. And I thought OK, I’m not going to let idiots like Ryan Colby make me feel bad any more.

Unfortunately, when it was my turn to speak I looked up and saw Luke Williams in the front row. He looked away when he saw me. I was so nervous that I chose the wrong music on my MP3 player. So instead of relaxing classical music I was listening to my hip-hop collection. The problem is that when I have dance music on the headphones I can’t stop myself talking in the same rhythm as the music. So it just sounds like I’m rapping. I can’t help it!

Most of the people in school had never heard me speak before. I don’t know what they were expecting but I’m sure it wasn’t a rap about bacteria that eat plastic. I could see they were laughing but I didn’t care. Then when I finished they all stood up and cheered.

After we’d finished it seemed like suddenly everyone wanted to know me. Most people don’t know about my trick with the music so they just thought I was a brilliant rapper, ha ha! I checked my phone at lunchtime and I’ve got 187 new friend requests!!! I didn’t see Ryan Colby or Luke after the science fair.

OK, I’m definitely not going to post this next bit. Luke came here this afternoon. I can’t believe it! I’d got it wrong. He wasn’t laughing at me this morning. He was ringing to wish me luck in the science fair. And that wasn’t Ryan Colby laughing on the phone, it was Luke’s dog barking! We thought that was really funny! He thinks Ryan Colby is vile and no, they’re not even friends. They had a fight after Ryan laughed at me today and they were both in trouble with the headteacher. We talked for three hours. And … he told me he really likes me!!! I love his Welsh accent. I don’t want him to stop talking. Anyway, Dad asked him to stay for dinner. They got on really well and they talked about all sorts of things. He’s really interesting. I could tell Dad thinks he’s really intelligent. And when I said goodbye to him at the door he turned around and said, 'Guess what?' And I said, 'What?'

Brendan Dunne


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