Being inspired, maybe – 41
A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like. For instance:
And, then, the words:
"We're going to die up here, aren't we?"
My traveling companion
was, to a certain extent, a fatalist, and had been reluctant to come with me,
but persuasion was one of my strong points.
That, of course, was
not the driving factor for this excursion in the wild.
My friend had been
languishing in a pit of self-pity and despondency, one I thought she would
never get out of. She's had a run of
back luck if you could call it that, and one disaster piled up upon another.
As a distraction, and a
means to get her out of her apartment where I could see the walls gradually
closing in on her, I thought a hike across a mountain would be just the ticket.
When we left, the weather
forecast had been for fine weather for the three days it would take.
But, as all deeds that
have good intentions seem to go, the weather turned bad, the snow began, and
after a day, it didn't look like it was going away.
Of course, I had been
prepared for that, with rations for a week, and a means of keeping warm.
All we could do was
wait it out.
"How did I let you
persuade me to come on this expedition?"
Should I be blunt? We'd been friends for a long time, and I felt
it gave me some license to tell her the truth, rather than commiserate with
her, as all her other friends did.
"You needed a
"Freezing to death
in some National Park doesn't quite fit the bill for a change, does it?"
"What would you be
doing if you were not here?"
"Tucked up nice
and warm in my own bed."
"And wallowing in
a sea of self-pity."
She glared at me, and I
could see wisps of anger in her eyes.
"I do not
"Some days you
don't even get out of bed. I'll be
honest Jane, I'm worried about you, and your state of mind. I don't know what it's like to be kicked so
many times when you're down, but this isn't you, at least not the Jane I
"Perhaps you don't
know me as well as you think you do."
Maybe I didn't. I took a moment to look at her, and suddenly
realize she was not the girl I once knew and had such intense feelings
for. It made me think about what I'd
done all these years, waiting in the wings for her feelings to change towards
me, and year after year failing to realize they never would.
This outing had been a
mistake. A huge mistake.
If I had to admit one
truth, she was right. I had absolutely
no idea who she was, not now.
But I had to ask,
"Why did you agree to come with me then?"
She gave me the look
that I had just given her, the one that tried to glean what I might be thinking
or get a peek into my soul.
"Because you were
the only one of my friends who chooses not to tell me what they think I want to
hear. And I thought traipsing over a
mountain in the middle of winter might just break the cycle of misery I seem to
be stuck in. Yes, I'll acknowledge I might
be indulging in a little self-pity, yes, I should be trying to get on with my
life, but for the first time in my life I don't know what to do."
"I'm sure any of
your friends would help if you asked them."
"I thought so too,
but it seems everyone has moved on except me.
I don't think I noticed until John dumped me that life had passed me
"I'm sure it's not
as bad as that."
"No job, no
boyfriend and having to move back in with my mother, what have I got to go back to. If I survive this trek that is."
Put like that, it
sounded very bleak.
"Perhaps in the
morning, it will be better."
"Maybe. But now I think about it, there was another reason I came on this
adventure with you, and it surprised me that it took this long to realize
it. It's probably why my life is such a
mess. I want to be more than just
friends, but in saying that," she added quickly, "I would like you to think about
it, after all..."
I kissed her. A brief touching of the lips, and meant to
silence her fears, and give me a moment to get my emotions under control.
She turned around and
snuggled closer, pulling one of my hands around her.
I could just hear her
say, "Thank you." very softly, and let a wave of contentment wash
© Charles Heath 2019
My traveling companion was, to a certain extent, a fatalist, and had been reluctant to come with me, but persuasion was one of my strong points.