Monday, 15 February 2010

The bar

I'm watching the lightning flash outside my window and idly looking at the hole I tore in my stockings today. Can see the storm in the university lights, see it coming up the hill towards me.

Work got a whole lot worse after the last post. I sank deeper than I have in a very long time. And it felt like when I was 16 and learning how to indoor rock climb. There used to be this one course that had an overhang and I very rarely attempted it, just sticking with what I knew I could do instead and improving my skill and technique. But I really really wanted to try this course.

And I got to the overhang, and I was tired. I wanted to dig in and try harder but my hands and fingers hurt. Anyhow I remember deciding one day to just grit my teeth and launch at it, and I managed to grab a hand hold and pull myself up. For a glorious second I was up, and I swung my left hand up to make purchase higher and to strengthen my hold on the wall. And I slipped, my fingers excoriating on the sandpaper like texture of the wall, pain flashing in front of my eyes like a red curtain.

And I had the choice to just let go. To swing away from the wall and where it hurt, to let my hands free and just fall until my safety rope caught me and get lowered to the ground. It was a perfectly acceptable way to go. I'd tried really hard but with more practise maybe I'd get there. But either way, no big deal. Don't always have to get it right first go.

But I remember the surge from the pit of my belly. The fierce, animalistic determination bubble up into my chest and force me to dig my poor sandpapered fingers into the wall, to scramble for grip. The way the warm blood felt as it trickled down to my knuckle. The pain of my knee hitting the wall as I pulled my whole body towards it, toes gripping onto the tiny handholds through my shoes. And I pulled myself up. Hauled my body up until I got hands full of holds and could push my feet up. And I climbed until I reached the bar. Sat up there up the top, leaning back in my harness holding onto the bar while my chest heaved from the effort and my breath rolled in and out crashing like waves on a beach. Sweat rolling down my temple and stinging my eye.

I'm 12 years older now, and it is so much more tempting to give up, but I can't. I'm going to touch the bar.

2 comments:

Melissa said...

I don't doubt it.

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