The waves beat against the base of the cliff. The spray licked her tear-stained face and settled onto her matted hair. Her frock, once sky-blue with white ruffles down the front and a hem of white lace, was now torn and soiled. She sat with her knees tucked underneath the soggy wrinkled mess, shivering with each icy gust of wind.
He hadn't even left her a note. The house was as empty as her heart. At first she had thought his sudden absence might be some sort of a joke, but the neatly made bed, the bare closet and a couple of five-pound notes on the oak table, were telltale signs that he was gone for good.
The cliff seemed to welcome her with open arms. She longed to extract all the memories of Ari from her muddled mind and cast them into the swirling depths of the hungry sea, but they were to remain with her forever.
She slowly drew herself to her feet and stretched her arms up as high as they would reach. She couldn't believe Ari had been at her side only a night before, caressing her hand and running his fingers ever so gently through her auburn hair. She had stared into his deep blue eyes for what had seemed like hours.
"Amanda," he had whispered. "I never want you to leave me." His words had made her heart slap inside her chest. She nearly melted in his hands that night.
She strolled back to the cottage, drawing her tattered shawl about her shaking shoulders. She didn't even try to avoid the murky puddles and her feet felt the cold result of it. Misery enveloped her like a damp rag and made her queasy. All she wanted was a hot bath and a warm bed, but she knew that she would wake up the next morning with the same aching feeling in her chest. She decided to rise to the occasion and take the carriage into town. She needed to see what this was all about.
She alerted the stable boy and then quickly changed into a more presentable dress. She had a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. Ari's sudden disappearance certainly had not been a last-minute decision. And she wasn't going to let him walk away without locking eyes with him one more time.
Writer Meredith LaFrance is a senior at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She will be a freshman at the University of Oregon at Eugene next fall.