It was a long way to fall. She knew. She had looked over her shoulder for years, and still climbed higher, listening to the rocks as they broke free beneath her bare feet and tumbled lifelessly down the cliff side. She knew her fall would make a different sound. But her life was this god damned mountain. Her destiny was not to reach the top. Her destiny was to die trying, and she knew.
She was born on solid ground, beneath a beautiful and sheltering canopy of trees. They let in light, as all good trees do, but year by year she glimpsed more, until she began to seek this mountain. One that jutted far above the treeline and seemed to face the sun, always.
My god, was it spectacular to climb. To see so far. To feel the wind and the mist from the cloudy edges of heaven. She was born again and again. A mile high.
But when you climb a mountain, there is nowhere to rest until the top. She had to hold on, always. She knew it would not be sustainable. She knew she would have to fall, or jump, but for years she clung, mind body and soul to that rocky face, turning her attention ever away from her bloodied hands and feet and towards the breathtaking beauty.
When she did fall, because of course she did, it was not on purpose. It was not a premeditated day. She was not ready. But then she was never going to be ready. She flailed and clawed at the unforgiving rock before hearing the deafening wind. Not like the rocks that skipped down the mountain before her. Just a vacuum of air. Space and time passing through and around her as she fell to the ground that she barely remembered.
She didn’t know how long she would lay still, in the prickly shade of the forest floor. She knew it wouldn’t be forever, but she did not know much else. Maybe she would start to climb again. Her body ached sorely at the thought, but her heart broke to imagine a life on the ground.
She looked up at the rugged wall of rock and saw her tracks. She had changed the rock forever, as it had changed her. She had survived the climb and the fall.