Fandango’s Daily Challenge

Fandango’s Daily Challenge

This was his favorite mountain. He had come here with his Dad since he was a small boy.
“I can’t believe I’m skiing alone”, he lamented aloud to his audience of none.
He inhaled deeply the cold, thin air and deliberately exhaled, studying the vapor trail of his breath. A childhood memory dashed through his frontal lobe of putting two fingers to his lips and exhaling “smoke”. It took so little to amuse us back then, he mused. The difference between those days and now, besides the lack of worries that have plagued him his entire adult life, was the absence of friends “smoking” and laughing with him.
But it is a nice day. And it’s not so bad being alone. He enjoyed his own company.
As if you have a choice?
His inner monologue, whom he nicknamed “Annie Xiety” was pissing him off today. He refocused and studied the magnificent landscape around him. He slowly looked up and around. He was notorious for asking anyone who would listen if they ever did that. If they ever just looked around. Looked up. Or just looked away from their fucking screens for a second. People thought he was poking fun, “cracking wise” as his beloved Grandfather used to say. It was unfortunate that people chose to react that way, to assume that he was being negative or critical. He was just trying to help people learn what he had learned after his first brush with “the bastard”,(The bastard” of course was death, who occupied significant space in his head) that life is fleeting and merely existing isn’t enough, that Life is to be taken in like the cold air that was burning his lungs at this moment. The Shawshank quote by Brooks dashed through his mind,
“The world got itself in a big damn hurry”. Yup, it sure did.
He wished that they knew he wasn’t being critical or snarky, he just wanted to share what he had learned. To help them. But nobody listened, they just rushed on with their lives. They passed him by like so many opportunities he had missed in life.

He focused his attention on the slope below him. The grass was starting to show through everywhere. It would be Spring soon. A time of renewal, of rebirth, a fresh start. It occurred to him that he would need to be a hell of a skier to dodge those grass patches.

He reached the summit. The air continued to burn his lungs. A helpful attendant helped him disembark from the chair. He nodded a thank you and made his way, struggling with the skis, beyond the launching spot where the other skiers were starting from. The attendant called to him, “Sir, there’s no trail over there!” He dismissed the attendant with a wave, not even looking back at him. He then took off his skis and walked to the edge of the trail and looked down at the face of the cliff below him. He unzipped his jacket, reached into his shirt pocket and took out a piece of paper labeled Lab Results. He briefly looked at it, crumpled it and threw it into the cold air, watching it drift and bounce in the frigid air until he could no longer see it.
He looked up at the sky, hands on his hips and stared at the treeline for a moment and said aloud, “I just don’t see why people don’t look up and around more often”?
He thought about the bare spots on the slope. They would be challenging. Perhaps for someone else. It was not his worry. His chairlift ride was one-way. He would be exiting the mountain another way. On this glorious afternoon, he would accomplish two things; he would face his crippling fear of heights, and he would end his time in this fast-moving and superficial existence. He would be in the way no longer. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and fell forward.



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