Elizabeth Koschel, Grade 10, Trinity Anglican College
He stood on the cliff, a striking silhouette in the early morning light, just before dawn, staring out at the murky, swirling ocean, the cool wind blowing his hair, rushing and whistling. The waves were crashing against the rocks below, water spraying up and the air was salty and wet as he licked his lips. His eyes, dark as the night that had just passed, closed slowly and he took a deep breath. He stretched out a hand, his fingers reaching out to something unseen and his eyes opened. He looked... determined, as if he had just made a decision of great importance. His posture had changed; where before he had slouched slightly, he now stood tall and he made an impressive figure.
He reached into the pocket of his leather jacket and pulled out a yellowed, folded piece of paper. Slowly, but deftly, he opened the paper and held it up to the light spreading over the horizon, spilling over the water. The writing was barely distinguishable, faded and in a scrawling script but it was obviously of great significance to him. He carefully and lovingly traced the words, a lone tear slipping down his pale face. He spoke the words out loud, in a trembling, uneven voice, but loud enough for him to hear them before they were snatched away in the swirling wind, unheard by any other.
As he finished speaking, he began jerkily tearing the note up, ripping it savagely into uneven pieces like a madman and sinking to his knees, sobbing. He threw the pieces into the air, where they separated and flew in arbitrary circles until they were no longer visible. All was silent. The waves seemed to cease their thunderous roars, the wind stopped... so fervently and the birds muted their incessant chirping. All was silent, as he slowly clambered to his feet again, dusted off his trousers, and stood with his outstretched hand reaching to something unseen. A decision had been made, a life had gone in a new direction, a leaf had turned over and a man had overcome a lifetime of regrets. And as he walked away, resolved to start anew, the sun burst over the horizon and a new day dawned, bright and fresh.