A mountain to climb

As he stared at the top of the mountain, Jack laughed. “Sal. Are you serious?”

Sally, his girlfriend of six months, grinned at him. “You’ll love it. It’s not as bad as…”

“No, I guess not but you do tend to enjoy chall…”

The smile fell from her face.

“But I do too… really,” he lied.

Having this conversation before they tried one of Sally’s adventures was becoming too regular an event for his liking. A romantic snuggle with a real fire, hot chocolate and an unseen DVD was as adventurous as he wanted to get.

“I’m sorry, Jack,” Sally said doe-eyed.

“No, it’s OK. I’m being mean.” He began shaking his hands and jumping on the spot as if he was a runner warming up before a race, except he had five layers of clothes on instead of their flimsy Lycra.

Sally laughed and watched him jump around. It was her laugh that he’d fallen for, how she never let anything get her down.

The moment they’d met replayed in his brain. A cold winter’s day like today only a packed high street instead of a Welsh mountainside. She’d been carrying a boxed cake past a bus stop when a businessman had run into her as he yelled for the bus to stop. Jack had watched the white cardboard box tumble, the three of them too slow to stop its demise. The 60th anniversary gift she’d ordered a fortnight previously now a white mound on the pavement, disintegrating in the wet January drizzle.

He was grateful it wasn’t raining now as it was bad enough to tackle Snowdon in the cold but to feel drips down the back of his neck would have been the icing on the cake.

As he looked at the snow-covered mountain, Jack laughed as the image of the forlorn present returned. He took Sally’s hand. “Right my dear,” he said. “Let’s go climb your mountain.”

As they started their ascent, Sally started to tell him about the last time she’d been there, recounting the moment when she’d fallen, broken her back, spent the next two years learning to walk again and never wanting to stop.

***

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