The Future Is An Attitude (life at altitude)

The Future Is An Attitude

We’d been walking for about 15 minutes when I began to have trouble breathing. It was an early Fall morning in Breckenridge, Colorado, and she was about ten steps ahead of me and moving aggressively up the mountain path. “Either you’ll make it, or you’ll die,” she said. I kept my mouth shut and tried to pick up my pace. I was a bit dizzy, but maybe it was euphoria.

I spent a good part of this relationship trying to keep up with her. On the road bike, walking, always her charging up the hills and leaving me in the dust. Just up there on the trail, I could see my inspiration, my goal, to keep up. At this point, I wasn’t thinking about survival, I still imagined that our relationship had a chance.

She stopped up ahead, turned, and smiled back at me. I’d heard of altitude sickness but didn’t have any first-hand knowledge. “Let’s go,” she said. Her tone changed. “Are you okay? You look completely white.”

My vision was getting worse. My peripheral vision was closing down. I was looking up at her through a dark tunnel. I didn’t hear another word.

I did not die but the relationship did not survive. She kept disappearing. Sometimes to visit old high school friends. Sometimes down her nightly “cocktail,” which she announced with glee every afternoon as she came in the door.

I was slowing her down. She wanted to be free, to travel more, to drink freely, to have less baggage pulling up the rear. Wanting to be loved was a given for both of us, but the equation was unbalanced. Mostly, neither of us wanted to be alone. That’s why she drank and I didn’t.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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