You told me to climb up the mountain, pass through the cold of the mist and touch the sky because my mind was getting weary from what my eyes saw around me.
Anything my hand touched took life and became like a startled spider, crawling away into the darkest corners of the ceiling of your mind, bending in its long hairy legs to conceal itself. And what my heart grasped and rooted in broke and flew away into a million pieces that broke once more into much smaller pieces until it finally became the blackest of dust.
The wind carried them away and let them fall into a lonely pool in the bush where even the snakes cannot drink because of its bitter taste.
You knew I had to touch the sky so that I would want more than ever to live because after reaching the sky what more could be beyond that blue?
Along my way to the mountain my eyes caught sight of my favorite Jasmine flowers, their sweet fragrance tickle my nose flooding my view with the haunting memories of a little girl and her grandmother in front of the dresser. The grandmother is combing her hair while saying,
“Remember to comb your hair sixty times…”
Now all I hold in my is a scented candle and a single frangipani.
“The view at the top is beautiful!”
I turn and see an old man wearing a straw hat and an old, yellow t-shirt, brown shorts with barefeet looking at me. I’m still looking at him so he gestures with his head toward the mountain.
“The climb begins from here. It is easy at the bottom but will get harder just before you reach the top,
…But the view when you get there is beautiful – but when you touch the sky…”
He closes his eyes and shakes his head dramatically before smiling at me with his kind, old eyes beneath the straw hat.
I look up and notice the eucalyptus (gum) trees scattered about on the base of the mountain. Lifting my gaze higher I see the swirling mist blending in and out of the woolen clouds. Sunlight filtering through breaks and softens before it reaches my chilly cheeks.
I turn back to thank the old man but he is gone.
An old sign post standing crooked with age beckons to me and so I begin my climb.
In this few moments my thoughts are lost in time while my feet makes the slow and steady journey taking me through the knee-high grass scattered with the eucalyptus trees that smelled like vicks Vapor rub.
An hour later I find a rock and sit on it. As I lift my eyes to gaze down at the view before me a straw hat is placed before my eyes!
“Don’t spoil it! Reach the peak then you can look…but after you touch the sky.”
I nod without looking up and fall into a heavy sleep. My eyes flutter open and I look down at my toes because they are transparent. A soft wind blows my face and I feel myself being lifted like a dry leaf from the ground. I look down and see myself lying on the ground with my mouth still hung open from my deep snoring.
As I lift toward the clouds my ascent is stopped suddenly. I look down to see the old man with the straw hat twirling a stick, his face serious in focus.
I slowly began to descend and I realise that he is reeling me back down with that stick. My feet and toes are rolled and coiled on the stick like spaghetti.
When I am level with him he looks me in the eye and shakes his head at me.
“There are no short cuts. Take the journey and enjoy the view at the top.”
My breathless entity melds back effortlessly into my silent body. I feel the warmth once more in my toes and open my eyes.
Once more the old man with the straw hat is gone. I sigh impatiently and start walking upwards.
My back is now hurting after another hour of climbing so I find a spot on rest. A small stone hits my back gently. I look back in annoyance and see the old man sitting on an old log.
“What are you? Seventy?”, He asks me before standing up and walking away.
My stomach grumbles and I run after him to ask for food but he is gone again.
Another hour goes by and I am now pulling at tree roots and rocks as I scramble up the mountain side. The climb up started getting harder half an hour ago.
I grab a root hidden in the hollow under a rock and it comes free. A long shout leaves my lips as my feet seems to walk on the air beneath the clouds. My right hand grasps the slender, small tree I had been holding onto and I stay frozen waiting to fall and die.
Something hard prods the top of my head and I look up in relief to find my friend in the straw hat extending the end of a long dried stick down to me. He smiled at me beneath his straw hat and nodded his head. I reach up with my free hand and grabbed the stick.
My friend pulled me up and beyond the swirling mist, past the woolen clouds and told me to sit and rest on a solitary wooden bench in the middle of a nice and sunny garden with a little pathway leading to an elegant arch made of jade stone.
“You are here now. Just beyond that arch is the blue.”
I smiled at the old man with his straw hat now held in his hands. His head was covered in white, wiry hair around a small, brown, bald spot on top.
“Thank you for helping me up”, I say
The old man smiles and nods his head in acknowledgement before walking away from me toward a small gate I didn’t see before. The gate creaks shut and he waves at me from the other side before walking off into the countless trees behind the gate.
I stand up and follow the little path counting the tiles as I go. I count at least thirty tiles before I reach the jade stone arch at the end of the path.
My heart starts to flutter and jump around in my chest because I am suddenly afraid that I may be disappointed. I wait for a stone to hit me or a stick to prod me along but there is none. I am already here.
Stepping through the arch the ‘Blue’ winds and glitters before me like a sea of broken glass. The shards move and twinkle before me in the glowing sunlight coming from behind me. My hand falters back afraid that they will sting me.
A thought tells me to reach out or stay here forever. I close my eyes and put my hand out. Inch by inch my hand crawls in the space between my hand and the ‘Blue’ until at last the slightest prick on my right index finger tells me I have touched the blue.
Suddenly a loud sound like the crashing of waves fill my senses and I watch as the ‘Blue’ falls away like a heavy curtain. I gaze harder eager to see the view my friend in the straw hat was boasting about.
I jolt up from my sleep.
My right arm was outstretched on the kitchen counter where I had lain down to rest while my noodles cup spun cozily in the microwave.
I sigh and slump back down again just as the microwave timer rang off.