A bead of sweat trickled down his right cheek, and slid down to his chin, where it dripped onto his wet t-shirt. The sun was merciless today, glaring onto the surface of the Earth as though the planet had done something to irk the sun. It happened to be the hottest day of summer this year in Yosemite National Park, with the temperature reaching a maximum of 35 degrees celcius at noon.
“Do you think you are Spiderman? Do you know how worried I feel everytime you go on one of your trips? I don’t understand why you have to do this!! Why can’t you have a normal hobby like everyone else?!” She screamed at him, her face contorted with frustration.
He recalled that argument, it had happened a few days ago. He had explained to her countless times before, but she never understood. Or at least, she never tried to understand. It’s always about how she felt, what she wants to do. That day, he did not even bothered to explain, to try to make her see things from his point of view, because he did not see a point in repeating himself.
After a few moments of searching, he found another route. With a huff, he pushed with his left leg and extended his left arm so his fingers could grasp onto the tiny crevice he spotted. While his left arm pulled his body upwards, his right hand seized the opportunity to grab hold of the jutted granite. With a few upward motions, he climbed a few feet higher until he found a resting point on the almost flat granite wall.
They’ve been together for 2 years, and this is the only thing that both of them could never seem to come to a mutual understanding. He tried to understand where she was coming from, but this is his life, this is the one thing that he loved more than anything. Maybe even more than her. He wasn’t sure. He was already a professional climber even before they met, and he tried to introduce this sport to her, but all his efforts were met with great resistance.
He sighed. His arms were starting to feel sore, but he loved that feeling. He loved the challenges that came with rock-climbing, the split decisions he had to make while on the climb, the mental and physical strength required to complete a near-impossible route, even the way different types of surfaces and rocks felt on his fingers. The fact that his life is literally depending on his own willpower and physical abilities fuelled his mind even more.
He felt most alive when he is climbing. It’s like life, you have to overcome the fear of falling, the only thing left to do is to use your bare hands and feet to push and pull your way up, to get to where you want to be. Crevices and shelves are like opportunities, once you grab hold of them, they become the stepping stones that will help you get closer to your goal. That’s why I love it, don’t you understand? He had tried to explain what it felt like to her, but her eyes always dimmed and a flicker of annoyance always appeared on her face.
While his left hand clutched onto a surface of a jagged rock, he attempted to push himself up with his legs again. All of a sudden, his left foot lost grip of the granite, causing him to lose his balance. Adrenaline took control of his body, because his body weight was depending purely on his left hand, the jagged stone was cutting through his palm while his right hand scrambled for something to hold onto. By the time he regained his footing, and his right hand was gripping onto a crevice securely, his left palm was bleeding. His heart pumped so fast that his head throbbed slightly, but he knew his instincts would take over as this was not the first time he slipped.
He never told her about any of these minor incidents, for fear of losing what little understanding left there is. To be entirely honest with himself, he also feared losing her. Apart from rock-climbing, she had always been supportive of everything he did. He had never told her this, but in the 2 years that they had been together, she had inspired him in so many ways, that there was a tiny part of him that feared a life without her.
He wiped his bloody left hand onto his shirt, to prevent it from becoming slippery, and continued climbing upwards. His fingers, despite its coarseness, were quick at detecting cracks and splits in the granite wall that he could hold onto. His heart started to soar as he could see the top edge of the wall. Adrenaline kicked in once again, he regained his momentum as his excitement started to peak. Soon after, his right hand reached the top edge, and he hoisted himself up towards the flatter grounds.
He slumped onto the rocky ground, and there it was in front of him. In between the valley lies Mirror Lake, which is surrounded by lush green pine trees. The blue sky, with a few lingering clouds, was reflected on the lake’s surface, which contrasted with the grey granite mountains. He took a deep breath, amazed at the magnificent views. Even though exhaustion took over, the beauty of nature was enough to keep him going.
This reward, is the best motivation you can get for putting in all that hard work. He thought to himself. How I wish she was here to witness this, then maybe she would love this sport as much as I do.