Jason is trying to get his life back together after a devastating accident that took the love of his life, and nearly left him disabled. It had been two years since he last climbed, and his mind and body were still trying to get in sync.
My God, he thought, I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew on this first attempt.
The wind was starting to pick up, and his arms and legs were beginning to feel like jelly, but he would not quit.
Remember Kayley, he thought. She’d never want me to quit. To admit defeat.
He pressed on, looking for the next handhold, the next step. He was straining with each move to reach higher, to reach farther, until the goal was accomplished.
I’m doing it, Baby!
He heard less and less of the sound from down below. The small watercraft still made their way to-and-fro under the bridge. The vehicles carrying mostly families to and from their weekend ventures to town appeared to be fading away as well. Even the animal sounds that had been prevalent during the beginning of his climb were little more than momentary interruptions to the growing silence at this elevation.
I can almost hear you urging me forward, my love, Jason thought as he dangled precariously off the cliff with a solitary handhold, while reaching into his pouch and re-chalking his other hand. He then copied the move on his other side, and up he went, one more stretch complete, one more milestone achieved.
“Oh shit!” Jason said as a frightened seagull took flight from its lonely perch, now invaded by the alien-looking human hand, almost causing Jason to lose his concentration and his grip.
“Sorry fella,” said Jason, while reestablishing a stronger hold. That reminds me of the snake incident in Nevada, Baby, he thought. Do you remember?
He was sure she did. After all, she ragged him about it for nearly a year following the incident; claiming he knew there would be snakes that high on the cliff, and did not tell her merely for a joke.
I was so afraid you wouldn’t go out with me again after that, he thought.
However, he need not have worried. By the time the snake made its unexpected appearance she had already fallen deeply in love with the shy but extremely adventurous young man who took nearly eight months to ask her out.
I know it took a long time to ask you, Baby, he thought, but I will forever be grateful that you took mercy on a shy fool like me.
He was nearly to the top, and his strength was beginning to be renewed. No, he had not received his second wind – he had remembered his inspiration.
© JW Thomas