Climbing the Pagoda

We walk into the first level; the room is empty and we wonder if we will make it to the top. A light breeze welcomes us, and we know well the top is our objective. We don’t talk about it, because it’s better not to sometimes, but we know well if we can do this, then we can do anything else. We look around, hoping there’s someone else coming up with us, but we are alone, together and alone.

The second and third levels are easy, since we have the adrenaline to our advantage. We take big, strong steps, as we climb our way up. We are walking fast, almost jogging, but even then, most of the time we hold hands. The steps seem not too large, smaller than we had thought. At times, I take two steps at once, and you joke about saving energy for later, and of course, as always, you are right.

The fourth and fifth floors become harder. We are both tired, and we don’t joke about taking two steps at the same time, or even going too fast. Our legs are starting to feel the effort, and at those times I grab your hand and hold it tighter. Luckily, you still have a smile, a refreshing smile, which hides how tired you are, how tired we both are. The top seems unreachable, the steps seem larger, and our legs have aged in the last few minutes.

When we reach the sixth floor, we wonder if it’s even worth it, but we do it in silence of course, we wouldn’t say that to each other, not at the beginning and not then. It feels as if we started to climb during spring, and it is winter now. The air is cooler and heavier, and it’s not welcoming anymore, instead it tries to push us out, but we take another step, and another.

When we reach the seventh floor it is spring again, and you smile, a smile full of light. We have reached the top of the pagoda, and the view makes everything worth it. We look down into the distance, and then up, and we realize that indeed at the top of the pagoda, earth and sky have come together, and we stand there, together and alone.

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