Where there is courage to rise each day
The shadow of fear covers the path in darkness
Desire stands alone conscious in the obscure of night
Confidence the sacred jewel on a crown of hope
Where there is will
Where there is want of more each moment
The frozen grip of insecurity binds us in our place
Longing reins in the fears rooted in our minds
Strength the tireless companion standing at our side
Where there is courage
Where there is hunger for that outside our grasp
The walls of failure rise to obscure our way
Optimism casts its light on endless mazes
Determination an unstoppable force on the road of achievement
Where there is love
Where there is zest to live each waking moment
The pain of sadness cripples even the most able
Passion fuels the fire that warms our hearts
Love the the golden sunrise in the gift of life
Approaching the hill with disdain, I attack each step as a an epic battle between good and evil. The cracks in the aged and weathered concrete serve only as menacing obstacles for the stiletto heal of my boots. Each scuff, each abrasion a wound unto my own body. This city ravenously consumes the very fashion it gives birth too. The burning in my calves ignites upward like raging fires of the California summer. 3, 8, 15 paces in and my heart explodes into action. Each breath forced form my lungs races to compensate for the focused battle too halt my momentum. Gravity is a bitch.
30 paces in to this potential death-march between fashion and the constant reminder that sensible makes god damn good sense sometimes. My feet drop like lead weights ever the wiser of the certain disaster that awaits the unwary fault. Judgment is crucial. But the strain upon my body begins to erect walls of uncaring pain on my joints. The ball of my foot tingling with each step. The numbing little toe belches moments of shear terror and complete numbness with increasingly heavier landings. My thoughts of endless plains of flat padded surface consume what has not given way to disgust and utter discomfort.
My lower back cries for mercy as the top of the hill seems to distance itself from my every approach. Survival and will are all that stand between the pinnacle and defeat. My determination sounded by the cry of never stop moving. To stop is to loose momentum and like a disease unchecked it ravages the body and the mind into absolute failure. I will not stop. Childhood memories of “The Little Train that Could” and an endless supply of energy strike bitter blows at my psyche. I am a grown woman damn it. I will not let that child inside peel away the layers of my real age only to expose a frail and embattled body.
Metabolic my ass. All I want is to get to the top of this god damn hill. 150 paces in upon this battleground and the wounded and dying grip every muscle fiber of my legs tearing away at the last strongholds of endurance. The crest of the hill suddenly appears. The sight is just enough to break my unflinching gaze upon the concrete river below me. Not time to celebrate. The goal is yet unreached. Seemingly unattainable each trip, rain or shine. Only a few clicks of my heals away from the top now. The lone gunner dodging every landmine to take the hill by force of one. But there will be no heroes in this war save one.
The hill behind me throws my sight over my shoulder like a shot. Quickly surveyed my eyes again focus on the flat pavement within reach. The buttons ripped from their holes in my jacket still struggling to reform default shapes; the slivered eyes of an accomplished hunter. Hair pulled back into a ponytail. Sweat trickling down the small of my back and the crevasse between my breast. The heat radiates from my neck like a boiler set on full. My senses begin to hone in on a muttled thumping in my chest. Ears pounding with each last step towards the end.
Seconds passed like minutes until… “Oh thank god!” The sound of my own voice even startling to myself. The left foot is the first to reach the top. A sudden rush of blood courses through my body as if all the pressure had just been released from an imaginary damn. But this was no dream, no passing thought. These lucid moments as I steady the pace upon even ground are deafening all their own. My brain quickly surveys the damage. My lungs begin to fill with oxygen as if they had never breathed fresh air in any prior lifetime. Damn you for being so out of shape. I think to myself. Damn you for wearing those pointy, sexy heels. Who cares how sexy your legs look when you are dead in the middle of the road form a heart attack. Sensibility and reality begin to fade into oblivion again as this fashionable amazon approaches her destination. Mind over matter and this trip is my metal of valor. Yes this hill is bad enough in flats. But I can say this hill has been concurred in heels!
Endless miles of hot asphalt race only inches beneath her. This journey has become all too familiar as she blankly scans the road ahead. The trips back to her parents home each weekend only followed by the same blank canvas before classes start each Monday.
“How long must I do this?” She whispers to the empty seat beside her.
Cracks and hastily planted repairs in the road counting down the miles. She opens the window to awaken her senses. This drive, this repetition that numbs her mind as she struggles to stay awake at the wheel. Thoughts are her only companion along these mindless stretches as even the radio’s blaring madness too fades into background noise.
She stops along a long isolated corridor. The pine forests frame the roads like deeply carved aqueducts where only metal and concrete flow. It is spring and mediocre patches of wildflowers fight the weeds and weekly industrial mowers for a stand of their own.
A lone whit daisy has impaled itself into the broken edges of the roadside. It’s only companions, indescript plastic wrappers and crumbled infrastructure from a tenuous, fragile barrier. Just enough protection for it to take root.
“How long must I do this?” She whispers again.
Her voice falls along the roadside as she pours the last bit of melted ice and moisture from a giant convince store fountain drink around this hopeful yet doomed spark of life. Her gaze surveys the local patches of daisies bunched together living freely and open just outside the shadows of their lanky pine guardians.
Her eyes return to her lone companion at the edge of oblivion wondering how such a beautiful thing could survive and blossom outside of its siblings’ safe haven of meadow-like grasses, weeds and illegible “do not mow” signs. She thinks to herself as if ready to ask the daisy out loud.
“What are you doing here?”
The silence in her mind is only broken by the silence of no answer. Her gaze blurs as she raises her head to the blue on blue sky. Her focus turns to nothing of consequence as she ponders the bravery and utter determination of this lone flower. Her only thought as she turns slowly to return to her drive are of her own life.
“I wish I was a flower.”
She starts the car and quickly disappears into the distance.