“10 more minutes, just a little longer,'' he explained, enthusiastically pointing to the sign planted on top of the obscured peak. A sudden thump of my heart, followed by a drop in my jaw, and the escape and rush of sweat streaming down my face, occurred abruptly. Allowing the uproar of my vitality to vanquish me, abolishing my enervated state from existence. “Don’t want to give you any false hope”.
I look behind me and darkness is all that appears however, as I scrutinize, I notice the abundance of illuminating dots coming from the peaceful town. I pause. This insignificant light seemed to be impairing my vision as all I could see was the luster of this light, reaching out towards me, leaving me in tranquility. It felt as though a strong presence was upon me, heartening me when all I could do was direct my attention towards the excruciating pain of exhaustion. As I face forward again, my eyes follow the heels of the person dragging their aching feet along the surface of the ground. My eardrums listen with pleasure as the porters sing and dance like a bunch of baboons on the loose. Their smiles and laughter infuse my body with the necessary energy to progress forward.
I took another step. Concentration. I took another breath. Daylight irrigating from behind. Heart pumping, another thump. And another. Thump. The air turned cold, slow and silent. The last few seconds before triumph. And with the last step I saw the impossible, I look around, and amidst a joyful sob, a ray of sun penetrates my back with its warmth, brightness, and joyful presence as if it is happening all at once. I turn around and an enormous, enormous radiant sun towers over me, completely diminishing my presence. The sun rests along the horizon, deep red and mesmerizing, the curvature of the earth intensifies, the sun slowly emerges and engulfs the sky. My eyes hypnotized. My heart jumps. The sun is an illusion trick. A goddess. A glowing medallion in the sky. Something bright and distant, like molten-gold. The tension lessens, I look away, the spell breaks. My eyes are directed forwards and gaze upon the tremendous figure. I’m blinded by the ice glistening in the sunlight, the cold consumes me. I rub my eyes in disbelief as I see a layer of clouds hovering in the sky, perfectly motionless and silky smooth. But now I haul myself forward and gasp for any remaining air available. I stop. My heart drops. The final sign emerges. I break down and sob. I feel everything: enraptured from reaching the summit, rejuvenated to accomplish this strenuous task, my muscles screeching in pain, my heart racing out of exhilaration.
I scan my surroundings, noticing how everyone's reaction is different from one another. My friends and teachers beam with joy all the while the porters praise us for our success. The sign becomes bigger. And bigger. My sister and I lock eyes and struggle to find words to describe what we are feeling. I open my arms wide and reach for a compassionate hug. Something stops us in our path. I look up. It’s what I have been waiting for. It’s a stop to all my physical pain. It’s the finish line. It’s the end.
“Congratulations you are now at Uhuru peak, Tanzania, 5895m, Africa's highest point, the world's highest free-standing mountain”, My sister and I stand in front of the sign and a smile cracks through the exhaustion as we hold a picture of our father, who couldn’t experience this for himself. In that moment I felt complete and as though I was standing on top of the world. There was a moment of total silence.
Hanna, Year 11