Tom Walsh, Grade 10, The Armidale School
They were waiting. It felt like they had been there all their life, just sitting there pondering. The breeze ran through their hair, ruffling it and pushing it above their eyes. The withered trees shook violently in the hot breeze, and reached out for just a drop of water that barely came across this heartless land.
Alex peered from under his black akubra, one of the few possessions his dad had been able to pass on to him. He loved this sunburnt land. “The withered trees like spirits of the past, holding secrets from long ago,” he often told himself.
From where he was life was perfect. He had all he needed, and although he sometimes longed for a family, he couldn’t have had it much better. He liked to just watch the world go by, just waiting.
“What are we waiting for?’ he would often ask of, Henry, his companion. “Dunno” he would reply, with a blunt expression, giving nothing away. Alex always tried to understand what he was thinking, but Henry’s mind was so complex, full of twists and turns, he realised that he probably wouldn’t ever fully understand him. “How will we know when it arrives?” Alex questioned, trying to stir some sort of emotion from him. “Dunno,” answered Henry once again with a blank expression, he seemed like he was always deep in a trance, or always puzzling over something, and his mind wasn’t always on the reality.
On this particular day they were waiting at the rabbit burrows. They could hear the sound of a bird, almost crying out to the country side for some mercy. In the dusty earth there were scattered bones of rabbits who had many years ago flocked this burrow.
Alex looked over at Henry, his fierce withered face showing no emotion. “I wonder what he’s thinking,” thought Alex perplexed, “If only I knew what he really thought.”
As the heat of the day scorched the dusty plains, Alex and Henry took cover underneath the old log. It felt refreshing to sit in the shade. “If we lived in the city it would be like this all the time,” said Alex, merely as a side comment, to break the silence. No answer came from Henry, it seemed as if he had just brushed off the question. Alex looked over at Henry, and saw a tear rolling down his cheek.
Slowly he looked across at Alex. “It seems a shame” he spoke “That all these people seek happiness, and an easy life, by money, when we are content here by ourselves with nothing.” As the tears streamed down his face a smile emerged, on the corner of his lips, “We are just waiting, perhaps it will never come but we will just keep on waiting, if only to give our lives meaning.”
The silence continued on throughout the afternoon. Soon the night began to fall, and they set up their swags. The cool breeze started running through the land, throwing up dust. Alex looked out at the huge sky, and he felt small amongst it all. “What difference does it make he,” he thought aloud “It doesn’t really matter what I do, except to me, I am just a small part of this chain.”
And as the moon said its final goodbye for the night, and the sun rolled across the horizon onto the sweeping plains, Alex knew he had found what they had been looking for