By now he was scared out of his wits.

A bundle of nerves, that’s what he was turning into.

Trying to calm himself down but failing, he had to keep reminding himself to breathe.

All the things he was carrying were becoming heavier by the minute.

Every step was a painful reminder that he’d bitten off more than he could chew.

He had deluded himself into thinking that this was going to be an adventure.

Or, at least, a relatively painless experience.

Contemplating how to signal the level of his discomfort to her without being accused of blowing things out of proportion, he turned around and…

She was not there.

They had been taking a turn after turn in silence.

Focused on this internal rant about how much he was hating every second of it, he must have taken a different turn than her at some point.

Why hadn’t she called after him?

Hadn’t she noticed? Had she?

Had it been intentional?

Or had she been as hypnotised as he had?

He found himself a place to sit down.

He was now officially lost.

No one seemed to notice or care.

If someone could get a bird’s-eye view, they would see a crowd of people in a bee-like dance, drawing different shapes on the map of this maze.

He should have said no the moment she suggested it.

She might have been cross with him for some time but she would have come to terms with his decision finally.

But he hadn’t protested long enough. And he had landed himself in trouble.

And now here he was. Lost. Scared. Exhausted. In the middle of a shopping centre.



The story was inspired by the Gruen transfer (aka the Gruen effect) and if you want some follow-up reading (and watching) for you or your students here are a shorter and a longer one you might like.

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  • B2


  • cool/calm sb down
  • land sb/yourself in trouble
  • bite off more than you can chew
  • delude yourself (into doing sth)
  • be a bundle/bag of nerves
  • blow sth out of proportion
  • be scared out of your wits
  • come to terms with sth

Photo by Victor Garcia via Unsplash.

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