The sound of crashing waves filled the boy’s ears as he walked towards the edge of the cliff. His mind was blank and so were his eyes, which were fixed on the starless dark blue sky. His feet seemed to be moving on their own.
As he reached the end, he stared upwards, his gaze traveling from the heavens down to the mountains that stood near the end of the horizon. Tears trickled down his face and onto his shirt as he slowly walked forwards to the wide dimension of water in front of him.
It’s the end, he thought, as his foot moved over the edge…
Then, there was the sound of footsteps behind him. The boy turned around, and to his surprise, he saw an elderly woman, probably in her late 70s, hobbling towards him.
Startled by the old woman’s appearance, he said, a little too loudly, “Who are you? Why are you here?”
The old woman grinned a toothless grin. “Looks like I came just in time, child,” she said.
The boy, confused at her statement, merely gaped at her. The old woman noticed his expression and sighed heavily, before settling onto a rock nearby.
“You don’t surprise me, child,” she told him. “As we reach our early teens, our minds become immature and we sometimes think or act in a way that adults would call foolish. Committing suicide is one of the problems. Young people think that suicide will end their lives. Unfortunately, they just have been controlled and restrained by their own troubles. That’s why the saying ‘honesty is the best policy’ exists.”
She turned to the boy with a strange expression in her eyes. “What is your problem?”
The boy actually did not know whether to trust the old woman, but he decided to confess after hearing her words. He explained to the old woman that he was tired of arguments and fights in his family that would result in him being beaten. He also told her that his father was an alcoholic and would spend all his scarce earnings on booze, resulting in poverty.
The old woman shook her head after hearing his story. “You surprise me this time,” she said. “That’s not a reason that can drive someone to the brink of suicide. Many people come from these type of families. Some don’t even have families! You have a lot of things to learn.”
“What kind of things?” the boy asked, although he was feeling slightly irritated.
“You should understand that everything in the world already has a duty assigned for them.” The old woman replied. “Like the trees, for example. They exist for a purpose--that is, to freshen the earth and produce things that mankind needs for survival, like food and oxygen. Look at the sea. A massive mass of shifting water. It never rests, although at times it may appear calm. It is always moving, up and down, to and fro. What do you think the sea means?”
Ignoring the boy’s confused expression, she continued: “The mountains, as ancient as the sea and as majestic as a king. Standing like proud and lofty, it is like a god of nature, watching everything from above. Now tell me…” she looked into the boy’s eyes, “why do you think these two, the mountain and the sea, exist?”
“Er...I don’t understand,” the boy told her awkwardly.
“The sea,” the old woman said, “is like a collection of consciousness. It reflects the days that pass. It is like a diary, writing everything that it observes everyday. So as time passes by, it becomes a collection of memories. A memory is something everyone lives with, right? As for the mountain, it stands still and proud, but if you look closer, the scars of its journey has been etched on its surface. It is already worn out, but despite that, it continues to build up and stand, continuing its path to the future. Aren’t those the qualities a human should have? Remembering the past but still heading to the future.”
The boy turned away and thought for a while. Then, he realized something.
You’re right, he thought, as the light of dawn washed over him.
Turning to the old woman, he let out a gasp as he saw that there was no one in front of him.
This was a submission for a competition. Enjoy! =)
Original link: http://www.youngwriterssociety.com/topic54149.html