Heights

The cookie told me to aim high, it told me the sky is the limit, and that’s why I suggested we do this climb. I know it ain’t easy, so I just wanted to tell you that I’m glad you’ve decided to come along.

I may as well fill you in on what’s been occupying me these days. Besides, considering just how low we were when we started, I’m guessing this is gonna take a while, which means we have plenty of time.

(I am talking to the heart.)

For starters, there’s one that’s been bugging me for a while now. As it goes, I knew this guy… He was just an acquaintance, so I’m not sure you’d remember him.

(The heart shrugs, apparently wanting me to go on.)

Anyway so this guy moved into this apartment while he was in university. At first he had roommates but they left and it was up to him to find new ones so he could pay the rent because he was broke. The first applicant was a seventeen-year old kid whose mom was footing the bill, possibly because she couldn’t stand to live with him anymore.

So this kid shows up to look at the place and he has with him this twenty something Swede, who also looks around and nods and even chimes in with a few questions of his own. The kid likes the digs and asks if he can have it. The guy I knew said sure why not and when the mom was writing the check for the kid’s damage deposit and first month’s rent the guy I knew pointed to the Swede and asked if he was the kid’s friend or whatever. So the kid looks as though he had forgotten he showed up with a Swede and he turns to the guy I knew and says oh yeah do you mind if this guy lives with me?

The guy I knew just said sure why not because he was so broke, but within the following weeks he came to regret it. Not only did the Swede—who was literally just some Swede the kid had recently met who was couch surfing—not only did the Swede eat too much food out of the fridge, but he was also really fond of taking hour long showers and crying, sometimes both at the same time. He also mostly just sat on the couch all day and really didn’t contribute to anything in any way. He said he loved it there, but he still cried. The guy I knew ended up moving out, but not before the Swede went back to Sweden.

Anyway the point is, we could be starting as low as that Swede. That’s something, but this is still gonna be one hell of a climb.

(The heart seems to be listening, which is nice.)

I think what’s needed here is a tool. Some sort of pick me up. I consulted the cookie and it told me that my happiness is intertwined with my outlook on life. So, I was thinking we could procure some sort of outlook grappling hook, you know, something that would boost us to new heights. It’s damn hard to see from these depths, but if I crane our neck straight up, I think I can see what we’re looking for.

I think we can both tell what that is.

Here’s the thing though, we’ve tried the stepping stool of Love—for our fellow human, but well, you know how that goes. And of course we’ve tried the radiant Love of nature, but we both know that one’s an inward Love and has nothing to do with climbing; it can only keep us warm. And so I ask, is the right Love even out there? You tell me…

(No response.)

Ok, fine. At the very least, let’s just keep this pace then shall we?

(Still no response.)

I’ve been wondering, were you paying any attention when we witnessed grief? It wasn’t very long ago; we were leaving the apartment, headed for work. We saw the old lady who lives below us. She was mopping the stairs in the entrance, and grief stood between us and her. It was terrifying. It was a hideous grief that shrouded the loveliness of this chatty, magnificent, marvel of the old world. I know you remember the stories she used to tell us, about the trips she and her husband would take. About how she saw the works of Gaudí in Barcelona, or the geysers of nature in Yellowstone. Old faithful. It was written all over your face. You wanted to turn back the clock, and take her in our arms. You weren’t wrong either. But the thing is: why this pestilent, muddling grief that stemmed the flow of those beautiful anecdotes? She didn’t even say hello. This was a couple of days ago, were you sleeping or something?

(The heart shrugs again.)

It doesn’t matter. I found the answer on my own. It came in the form of a memory. There was that ambulance, a couple of weeks back, it came to the building late one night. It left with her husband—of this much I am now sure. You know who I’m talking about, the formerly brawny lunch-pale husband who in his old age wore a three-piece suit and kept a handkerchief in his pocket. You were practically torn in two when we saw them holding hands at the market that afternoon. He died, and from his death came a pale-faced grief, the likes of which I never want to see again…

(The heart looks at me dismally, then sighs.)

I know what you’re thinking, and you can just forget about it. We can’t just conjure that kind of Love, it has to conjure us. Besides, I’m too busy realigning my outlook to be concerned with those kinds of concerns. The cookie said, now is the time to try something new. And I will damn it. Sorry if you have a one-track mind, but I’m no longer going to listen. If you weren’t so selfish you’d help us out with family, or friends, or all the daily nuance that we’re constantly missing. I say no more dull imaginings! I say we immerse ourself in the here and now! I say we count freckles, seek out new and exotic foods, talk to strangers, and deploy our frustrations through our legs, by taking a walk. Walks do wonders. If we continue to dwell on the things neither of us can control, we might plummet some more. Lower maybe, than even that Swede. How do you not understand this?

(At this point something hits us in the face, but it’s not the heart, who’s just as shocked as I am.)

What the hell? A hand? Where did this come from? Did we find it? Or did it find us? It looks like it comes from up there, down from that swirling mass of colour. And it’s wonderful! All encrusted with gems, and the nails are painted my favourite hue. It must be the hand of a jeweler, or a nymph.

Say… could this be it? The boost? The manila rope it’s hanging from looks pretty dodgy. It’s so hard to tell with old rope. Should we take it and climb? Or should we just ignore it and carry on?

Like always, we’re gonna have to agree in order to act. Otherwise we’ll just continue as we have been, which to be quite honest, is starting to get a little frustrating. In any case, I’m thinking I should tell you what the cookie last told me. It told me good news would come from far above.

Besides, this does look like a pretty good hand… so… despite everything I just went on about, maybe I’ll just leave this one up to you.

(The heart speaks.)

That’s not exactly what I thought you’d say, but it’s a good point all the same.

Really though, it’s your call.