Reilly Morrison, Grade 11
Each day I awake as the sun inches its way over the sand dunes to caress my forgotten face, beginning its routine ascent into the cloudless sky. Each day I unravel myself from a deep sleep and stand before its pale, golden rays, full of hope. Each day I place one foot in front of the other and begin my never ending journey once again. Each day I wander towards the horizon, using the twisting paths created by the dunes to guide me. Each day I know that this reprieve of mine will soon end.
As the sun rises higher into the boundless sky, it begins to sour, and its once longed-for gaze will harshen into the gaze of a warden; no longer will I be a welcome guest but rather a sullen prisoner. As the sun rises higher into the boundless sky, I begin to cry, its mighty gaze will sear and scorch my flesh revealing the bones of who I truly am beneath my fabricated husk. As the sun rises higher into the boundless sky, I will be consumed in its cleansing inferno, I will wander for an eternity, head bowed before its persistent rays for I do not fear the light, I fear the dark.
Darkness comes as the sun begins to dip beyond the dunes, releasing an array of vivid colours to mark the end of another unforgiving day, I will reach up as if to clutch the last of its fading rays and pull the sun back into existence only to have it vanish, replaced by feeling of despair coiled inside my very being. Darkness comes to steal the warmth of the light from my body as if leaching the very life-force from my soul; it sits like a writhing cloud of darkness weighing down upon me, the burden of guilt. Darkness comes to blot out the sky, plunging the sands into an abyss and leading me astray; without the stars to guide me I cannot see what is to come, without the light I am lost. Darkness comes to tempt me in the night, drawing me into false sense of security and slowly lulling me into a fractured slumber.
Some days I awake to find that the dunes have shifted as if some twisted labyrinth, revealing new paths for me to mindlessly follow, and closing up the old ways. Some days I awake to find myself buried alive beneath a dune of sand and I feel my face become branded by the grains as if to mark me as different before my journey even begins. Some days I spy an oasis over the dunes and rush towards it in frenzied joy only to find it to be a mirage, a false hope, and an empty lie. Some days I wish I do not wake at all.
Will my journey ever end? Will I ever find refuge? Will I ever be free? I do not know…
But each day I have hope.