BC laying on the downstairs sofa his hand draped over his face in exhaustion for a long day at work.
All the planning and the figuring, the favor borrowing, it's all for nothing. I am not slipping off into the mountains to make my second attempt to find the overlook between Millcreek and Big Cottonwood canyon at either Little Water Peak or Reynolds- or both. They are only a couple of miles apart.
My first attempt last week was derailed by my dog and a watershed sign. My second, by four & a half words.
"Please, don't," I say, "you say that to me and I won't go. You know that..."
"All I said was, wouldn't that be nice...." he repeated.
"You did this to me last year, please don't," I begged.
But it's already too late and he said nothing else.
His silence allowed the words to crawl like spiders collecting old fears and doubts as they came. You don't deserve to go, is what I hear. Of course he doesn't realize all of this. I say he should know but how could he?
How could anyone know how hard I have been fighting this summer to keep above all the voices telling me what a total wreck I am.
I let BC nap in the coolness of the house. I watered the garden. I sweep the floors.
I cleared the kitchen of the remains of dinner. The whole time trying to talk myself over those four and a half words. But for me words are so much harder to climb than miles. You can still go, I tell myself- I know I won't.
I won't even though I know he won't even know whether or not I do.
I argue with BC in my own head, I supported you through a year in Moab, through every empty October when you hunt, all your side adventures and boy trips, your extra ski days when I can't go because I have to drop off and pick up our kid.
This is a half a day, one day a week at the most in these 3 miserable months of the year. I don't even ask anything of you. I find all the rides, all the back-ups, all the safeties. I slip out leaving behind a clean empty house and I return to a clean empty house.
But it's not about him. It's about me.
Hiking is my only escape from the madness summer ignites in my head. The solitude of pine needles baking in the sun 3 miles up a mountain, physical tiredness that matches my soul.
And I can dredge up mountains tired and sore. I can keep going when I don't think I have anything else.
Yes, it would have been nice. It would have been nice to have this summit under my feet before I head into a series of 11 hour shifts at work.
Nice to have the memory of it in body when I stand beside the bikinis basking on the shore and me with my sensible suit and my matching shorts.
Nice to have the view of standing on top of something when I call my ex to ask if it might be possible for me to spend a few hours with my son while he is here in town- visiting my ex's dimes.
It would have been nice and it would have been hard. My back is still not well neither are my toes. I would have had to fight for it but on the mountain I would have won.
Down here in the valley where the heat robs the days out from under us I wear myself out trapped in my own mind. Trapped in my own past. Trapped in a black and white woods somewhere far, far beyond the edge of maybe.