The Finish This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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One-hundred yards away from the finish line and I was in the final push. My dirty sneakers made tapping sounds as they hit the slightly bouncy track. The wind that I was breezing through made a soft and steady murmur in my ears. The soles of my feet ached; my Achilles tendons stretched and slowly tore. Feeling had vanished from my legs and I clutched my side applying pressure. When I tried to turn my head, my neck couldn’t stretch far enough to complete the action. I reached my hand up swiftly to wipe the sweat off of my hot, red face. As I completed this motion, I licked my lips, my taste buds absorbing the salty, bitter flavor.

Enthusiastic shouts rushed through the space ahead, their sound waves traveling in my direction. Through fuzzy lenses, I looked ahead to see the end, brightly colored flags flapping in the wind, ripples flowing through each flag, from the narrow, pointy bottom to the wide top. The current of the flags beckoned me closer. The sun shined down on the eager faces of these people surrounding the finish, making them jump out at me boldly.

The agony was just pain and the exhaustion was just tiredness. They would go away. I freed myself of the pain and my body was light, like a dove spreading its wings and soaring through the open blue sky.

In these moments, I sprinted like lightning, moving through the world too quickly to see anything as a whole image, just small, blurry flashes of each picture before moving on to the next. With each flash, I made out some figures of people surrounding the last stretch and I could see the openness of the grassy fields encircling the track.
I sensed the cool wind blowing in from these everlasting fields on my face. The hair gathered in my pony tail whirled in circles and whipped the back of my neck, like streamers thrashing in the wind. I soaked up the sweet, clean aroma of nature and beauty that drifted through the air. Dashing through this wind formed vivacious whistling that I absorbed through my ears.
For the few remaining yards, I increased my already exhilarating pace. My mind and body as one, I bolted toward the end. I took flight and found myself coasting through mid air. I was free and limitless in the universe. Swiftly, I cruised past the finish line and the worn soles of my shoes landed with one final tap.





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