The Girl in the Denim Jacket
story in two parts Part 1
by Andrew Rossiter
was the mysterious girl waiting for the underground train on a suburban
station platform, one winter's evening, and what was she doing there?
clock in the living room has just struck two, but I'm still awake. Wide
awake. Usually I'm a good sleeper, but not tonight. I can't stop
thinking about that girl. I've got to write down what happened.
It was this evening around seven thirty,
as I was on my way home from college. I was waiting for the connection
at Willesden Junction. As usual at that time of night, there was only
one train to Watford every twenty minutes, and the platform was
crowded. Most of the people looked pretty familiar, the kind of people
who stand on the same platform at the same time every day;
ordinary people going
their ordinary life.
Then, just near me, I noticed this girl.
she was a bit younger than me, seventeen or eighteen maybe. She had on
a thick denim jacket, and was carrying a bag
which looked as if it contained books. She wasn't talking to anyone,
just standing alone. There was nothing unusual about that, mind you
; most of
the people on the platform were standing alone, stabbing their phones
or pads, staring
at their feet, or looking anxiously down the railway track, as if by
doing so they would make the next train come sooner. But the girl
— she didn't seem to be looking at anything.
She was pretty, I thought. Very pretty,
in fact. Shoulder-length brown hair, and a kind-looking face. From
where I was standing, and under the poor light of the station platform,
I couldn't make out the colour of her eyes.
Now I don't usually stare at girls on
station platforms, but somehow I couldn't keep my eyes off the girl in
the denim jacket. Perhaps she realized I was looking at her, for
suddenly she turned in my direction and looked straight at me; straight
in the eyes. Normally that would have been enough to make me turn away
and look in the other direction, and pretend I hadn't been looking at
her, but this time I couldn't turn away. There was something in the way
she looked that stopped me turning.
I imagined she would look away from me,
or even move further down the platform to avoid
me, but she
didn't. To my surprise, a smile came to her lips, almost the sort of
smile that you give when you meet an old friend again after a long
absence — though I'm certain I had never seen her before.
At that moment, there was a rumbling
behind my back, and an underground train rolled into the station. The
mass of people waiting on the platform surged
compete for standing room
and something to hang on to in the already-crowded train.
Though the girl and I got into the same
carriage, I lost sight of her in the crush
inside. I was hedged in
two enormous fat businessmen, who were talking their heads off about
banks and investment. She was somewhere in front of me.
However, from one station to the next
the carriage slowly emptied, and when we got past Wembley, there was
almost room for everyone to sit down. She was still standing though,
about twenty feet from me, and looking in my direction.
Between us, I noticed two empty seats.
Tired of standing, I moved over and sat down in one of them; hardly had
I done so however than, to my surprise and secret pleasure, the girl
moved up and sat down in the other.
For some reason I felt embarrassed. I
managed to bring out a half-hearted
"hello again", and smiled at her. As she smiled back at me, I could see
that she was indeed very pretty. There was a shine in her soft dark
eyes, but at the same time she looked worried; strangely worried.
End of part 1.
Continue to part 2.
go about: follow - reckon: think - mind you: in actual fact - stare: look intensely - avoid: move away from - standing room: only room for people to stand - crush: the compact crowd of people - hedged in: boxed in, surrounded
- half-hearted: timid, shy
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The Girl in the Denim Jacket - part 1. Student
or False - comprehension questions.
When you have read and
studied the story, say which of these statements are true.
1. The writer had never taken
the train at Willesden junction before.
were a lot of people waiting for the train.
person telling the story is 17 or 18 years old.
story takes place in summer time.
person telling the story felt strangely attracted by the girl.
smiled at him, as if she recognised him.
writer and the girl were separated in the carriage by two businessmen
8. Quite a
lot of people had got out of the train by Wembley.
writer sat down beside the girl.
writer spoke to the girl before she spoke to him.
story contains a lot of
phrasal verbs: list A contains 8 examples, list B contains 8 synonyms.
Match the verbs correctly with their synonyms.
1. was on my way
2. had on
3. make out
4. keep my eyes off
5. turn away
6. lost sight of
7. move up
8. bring out
a. come towards me
b. turn my head
c. clearly see
d. was going
f. stop looking at
g. was wearing
h. could not see
using this story in class :
a) Text contraction: have pupils tell the story in their own words,
after reading it.
b) Anticipating: how will this story end? How could it end? Have pupils
complete this story in about 300 words, using their imaginations!
c) Answers to T/F questions: The following are true: 2, 5, 6, 8, 10.
Language study: Phrasal verbs
a) Answers to phrasal verb exercise: 1d,
2g, 3c, 4f, 5b, 6h, 7a, 8e.
b) Stress the
importance of phrasal and notably prepositional verbs in English.
Prepositional verbs in this story are formed on the roots: write, have,
make, turn, look, get, sit, move, bring.
How many different meanings
can your pupils find for these verbs, by adding different prepositions
(postpositions) after them? For example: bring in, bring out, bring up,
etc. Your pupils will not know the meanings of
a lot of
these words. A vocabulary search based on one or two root verbs could
be a good idea for homework.
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
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Revised 2015 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate level
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