Timmy finally made it to the top of the mountain. For years, he had been living in a little shack near the middle, between the top and the valley below. In the morning, as he went out, he would look up at the cloud-obscured summit, daydreaming about being up there. But somehow, things always got in the way. When he was younger he thought that he could get there some other time. There were girlfriends to be found, jobs to apply for, friends with which to go out drinking. Anybody can go on a silly hike, nothing major. Later, he and Karen would do things together. Karen didn’t have any need to see the mountain. She loved the valley, and she loved going down into town to see bands and DJs. So, he never went up there with her. Then they had Rebecca. You can’t take a baby up those dangerous peaks, so he stayed at home, up sleepless nights, watching the child grow.
Eventually, Rebecca didn’t want to climb the mountain either. She also wanted to go back into town for friends, for school, and the myriad of other activities. So, he would look at the summit as they got into the car to go down, and he would see it again, sometimes shrouded in moonlight, as they drove back late at night.
When Rebecca went to college, Karen left. She said she wanted to be closer to the city, so she moved down there and (probably) found someone new soon after. He didn’t like to hear news about that. Then one day, after wandering around their little shack, he decided that there was finally no reason not to make the climb.
Halfway up, he was out of breath, and he was farther than he had already been before. His little shack in an outcropping was visible and small in the distance. The shrubs died away, leaving only rough stones for the final third of the walk. The wind grew, cutting and stinging his raw skin. It was colder than he expected at this height.
When he finally made it to the top, there was a nice little spot to survey the land. He stood tall, finally on top of the slope he’d looked at from below for so long. His shack was no longer in sight. Across the area, he saw how minute everything looked. He could track how the powerlines cut columns into the forest, leading to the cities. The lakes looked like little puddles scattered around the landscape. He could see no one. An occasional bird was flying underneath his eye line. The loudest sound was the wind.
He breathed deep at first, taking in the view which he had wondered at for so long. Now, he could see clear to the larger cities, and he could even, vaguely, see the ocean near the horizon. And yet, everything was so far away. He tried to focus on the little strips of road, to see the cars, and could not. Without another soul around, he wondered what he was going to do all alone on top of the mountain.
So, after taking in one last breath from the top, he decided to climb back down to the shack, and he didn’t have to wonder anymore what it looked like from way up there.