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January 2019 Prompt
Conquering the Mountain
By: Leah Pryor
The only sound Mitchell could hear was the crunching that the newly-fallen snow and the hard ice made under his ski boots. The air was thin up here and it took him really focusing on getting a deep breath to fill his lungs. He had no idea that it would be so hard to breathe! But the view from way up here was worth the effort. He had never in his whole life seen such serene beauty. There was no hustle and bustle way up here. It was as if he had left Earth and all the people behind.
Mitchell Pokerjack was a young man who had made a good amount of money at a young age. He had started a Pooper Service business when he was fourteen. He worked around the neighborhoods picking up turds on the weekend. The money he made from that he put in a savings account and let it accrue interest, never touching a dime of it. As he grew older, he got hired on at the local burger joint. He worked there in the evenings and worked his own business on the weekends still. Always saving his hard earned income. His parents were beyond themselves with pride in their son’s work ethic. They made a deal with their seventeen-year-old son to match whatever he had in his savings account the day he graduated high school. They kept their word. By the time Mitchell graduated he had a small fortune and decided that college was not for him.
He wanted to spend the next couple of years traveling. He spent his time off researching different travel destinations, motels he would stay at, and places he would eat. His first adventure took him to a resort in Rio where he spent ten days snorkeling with other tourists, riding around in cramped tour buses for hours, just to be rushed back on the bus seconds after getting to their destinations. He ate with people he didn’t know or care to know and sipped on expensive watered-down drinks adorned with fruits and little umbrellas. Although he loved Rio, he vowed never to go on another pre-made group tour surrounded by so many people he didn’t know again.
His next trip was well researched and planned out. He made all the calls and set up the schedule himself. Mitchell made his way through the busy and bustling streets of Cairo. He enjoyed his meals by himself and spent an extra three days taking in the sights before reluctantly going back home.
Now on his third outing, Mitchell found himself atop a solitary mountain in the Swiss Alps overlooking what would be a pristine town called Zinel, had the clouds that hung lower than the high peak he was on dissipated. Mitchell was no stranger to skiing. His parents often spent many a winter day hitting the slopes around their home town in Colorado. He had shredded enough snow to know what he was doing and felt he had a firm enough grasp to forgo the ski guide. Plus he wanted to be up here alone. Not because he didn’t enjoy people… he liked people enough. He had friends at home and made pen pals that he wrote to and spoke to frequently. He found that when he traveled with others, he often missed out on things like this:
The quietness of the mountain top. How he could hear his heart pounding, the snow crunching underfoot, and the wind as it whistled and blew little snow devils around the untainted scenery. If he had come up here with a group of friends or a tour group, he would miss out on the silence. It would be lost in the eager voices and the view would have been stamped out with footprints, skis, and camping gear. No, he preferred it this way.
Mitchell bent down to tighten his boots and check the conditions of his binding. Once he was ready he stood, took as deep of a breath as he could, placed his ski goggles over his eyes and guided his skis to the edge of the peak. With the tips of his skis hanging over the edge, Mitchell bent his knees, spread his legs apart to keep his skis from crossing, and pushed off with the poles. He took in another quick breath as he started downhill. The snow was fresh and soft as he slid over it. The acceleration started off slow, but soon enough he was speeding down the mountain leaning left and then right to dodge trees and jutting boulders that stuck out of the snow. He was alive now with the trees speeding past him and the wind whipping him hard in his face. This was what he needed. There was nothing else but him and the mountain. If he took his eyes off the prize, there was nobody out here to help him. He was in his element and his focus wasn’t on Mary-Ellen or the ring she gave him back before he left. It wasn’t the cancer that raged in his mother’s bones or the hospital bills that he promised to help pay. Here he was truly alone and his emotions were snuffed out by the speed and the pure adrenaline that ran through his body.
He knew this might be his last trip. His Dad needed him. His Mom needed him. He needed Mary-Ellen, even though she didn’t feel the same for him. But right now, right now he needed this. He needed to be in control of his surroundings and his own thoughts. He needed to feel unhinged and unencumbered. On this mountain, he was getting what he needed.
It took three hours to make his way to the base of the mountain, and he was sore and tired when he finally came to a stop. His legs hurt from the strain of keeping himself upright, and his arms ached from the effort of keeping them close to him while he flew down the mountainside. He plopped down in the cold, hard snow and looked up to see the monster he just conquered. It was majestic and white. The clouds were high at the top and covered the tip from his view.
Mitchell took in a deep breath; it was easier to do down at the base than it was up at the top. He thought about that for a while as he sat and stared. He thought about a lot of things as he took off his skis and packed up his gear. He knew this would be the last of his adventures for a while. His life was waiting for him back in Colorado, where he would spend the remaining amount of his money saving his Mom’s life and the rest of his time off winning back the only woman he had ever loved. He took one more look up at the mountain and one more deep breath before he stepped into the taxicab that would take him back to the airport and back to his problems.
Please visit and like Leah’s author page on Facebook: A Sentence A Day 2019 https://bit.ly/2MdcZMJ