Memory Assignment: Six Examples


Hannah Lajba

Everything is white and my leggings are pulled down to my kneecaps. Artificial florals invade my nostrils at every breath I take, which is many, short gasps urging myself to just forget where I am, what is happening just outside that door. I am nervous, a ball of sweat drips from my temple, can they hear me if I can hear them? The clamoring of the kitchen staff cleaning up our latest meal combined with the laughing and yelling of the girls just on the other side make me clench.

Hello, my name is Hannah and I, for the most part, am no longer a shy bladder sufferer. It started my junior year when going on a class trip to the Renaissance fair. It was the midway point of the three-hour journey and, to be blunt, I had to pee. Getting up from the polyester printed bus seat the urge became full force. I went to the last open stall and, unfortunately, it was the handicapped stall. We all feel guilty when using that one; what if someone needs it and then here we are, using it? I think it was the regret, and also that large gap in the door, anyone could just look in and see me center front. It was a good five minutes of thinking of waterfalls, lakes, and streams while trying to use my imagination to hear the dripping of a tap, but nothing, and I gave up. Surprisingly, at my body’s dire need of relief, I was able to go into the dirt-floored fly mating ground that is a Renaissance Fair toilet. Luckily my stall at least had toilet paper.

Funny how the exact same thing happened the next year, but no longer—or that’s what I tried to tell myself. I pondered my condition, even Googled and Yahoo answered it, and the revelation came: if I drink more liquids, my body will learn to retain them better. Fun fact: I also suffer from small bladder syndrome. The thing is though I never got around to testing out my theory; who would want to deal with having to pee every half hour?

There is a fell voice in the air—no, not Saruman but Zac Efron. I listen closer, arching my body towards the door, “Bet on it, bet on it.” Suddenly my mind is filled with the rolling green hills of a golf course and young, shaggy-haired Troy Bolton dashing about in all black. I hear my internal voice say ‘Do it for Zac, Hannah’ to which I reply, ‘Please God let me pee!’ and He answers. It is my own little golden waterfall; the sigh of relief that leaves my lips comes out like music to the heavens. ‘T-God for Zac Efron.’ I pull up my leggings, the sweat evaporating and the nerves going down the drain with the soapy suds. I do one final touch-up on my hair before exiting, seeing the line of bladder-exploding girls my untimely visit has caused.

Discussion Questions

  • Why would somebody want to read this piece (the “Who cares?” factor)?
  • Can you clearly identify the author’s intention for the piece?
  • How well does the author support the intention of the piece? Cite specific details that support or take away from the author’s intention.
  • Is there information missing from this piece that would make its intention clearer? What else would you like to know?
  • Does the author portray herself as a round character? How does she do this?
  • Do you trust the author of this piece? Why or why not?
  • How clearly does the author establish a sense of setting/space in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • How clearly does the author establish characters other than the self in this piece? Cite specific details that support your claim.
  • Did you learn anything new from reading this piece? If so, what?
  • Are there particular passages with engaging language/description that stood out to you? Describe the appeal of these passages.
  • Would you read more writing from this author? Why or why not?


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