The climb was harder than it seemed.
Each movement scared him, drained him. His legs stopped for a moment, he was stuck, his hands gripping the bare rocks as hard as he could. He did not pay attention to the tingle in his fingers, all he could focus on was the landscape. Although they had kept telling him not to, he looked back. He often did on the way up, and it both scared and amazed him. I’ve come this far, he said to himself, that’s unbelievable. In some sense, he felt that even if he came to fall, if something were to happen, he would be fine with it. As fine as the situation would allow him to be.
The treetop was spreading down below like a green pond, a huge green pond that seemed to gain more ground each time he would look back. He wondered if it would continue to grow once he would get to the top; things don’t necessarily work out the way you expect them to. Take the birds for example, he thought, you would expect them to be here. Somehow, somewhere. And yet, there weren’t any. None. Not even a chirping, as faint as the first light of dawn, nothing that would give any hint of life. There was a feeling he could not totally understand in that realisation; a sort of sadness, something abstract, something human.
The last efforts were the hardest.
As he reached the top, he searched his memory. There had never been anything like it; no situation where he would feel as empty, tired and alone as he did when his right knee pushed hard on the ground. The feeling of accomplishment was still there, somewhere, silent. But everything else was too loud.
There he stood, feet on the ground, looking straight through the blurry horizontal line in front of his eyes. Unbelievable. It probably was somewhere, there, all of it. But never did he manage to find it. That’s how life goes sometimes, you can’t put your finger on the damn thing. He turned his back on the view, took a few step towards an oddly-shaped rock. From a certain angle, it looked like a sphere, a globe perhaps. And yet from another, it looked like nothing he had ever seen before. It was almost as if the old segments and points of an octagon had tried escaping, flying away, bending the rules of physics, the laws of nature, whatever.
Stranger things; impossible to find stranger things, he thought. What was odd bore interest. Oddness, weirdness, the cracks, the nooks and crannies of the abnormal, that was how you knew life was really something. The tangible untangible of sorts. That was what interested him, what he looked for in his own life. Meaningless sense, nonsensical logic, disrupted hierarchy, everything that turned upside down, vibrated in a different way, he was attracted to. A few more steps, and he put his hand on the rock; cold.
The fall was the best part of the climb.
His hand was stuck on the rock. His eyes danced within their orbits. It seemed the world was overturned. Down is up, up is down, right, left, no distinction. He felt like vomitting but only managed to laugh like a madman. There was no sense in anything, but that he already knew. Anything was the sense in all things; what? he thought. Even his thoughts came to escape from him – this must be how it feels to be crazy. The rock released its hold, he drew back his hand, rubbed it. Both of his left feet felt heavy, twenty-toed potatoes trapped within tiny leathery boxes. The ridiculous nature of life. He moved towards the edge of the cliff and sat down. There was nothing to see anymore; the view was gone, the world was gone. They were all gone too. All of them – total indifference. That was the cue : he had a plan, and it worked. The feeling, the vision, the rock; everything started to fall into place. He drew out his notebook from his bag. A noise cracked the silence in two as he opened it, and started jotting down letters. Korean, English, Portuguese, Japanese, different signs put together, alphabets coherent or not, it all made sense. A new sense, not the old one. Not the previous one. Not the limited one or the abstract one. It made a sense, and it made him feel whole.
Sentence after sentence, complex and simple, he went ahead and wrote the story. Prose, poetry, both of them – prosetry, versificated free line, that eventually brought him to the end of the page. He marked the final dot with ease and a sense of relief. One way or another, whatever needs to happen happens. He stood up, notebook in hand, and jumped.