The Pillars - 2

CHAPTER 2

It had been a long and enduring bus ride
I was soaked in sweat
The amount of people rammed into one bus was extreme
People standing swaying to and fro
We drove along the karakorum highway
Through the amazing valleys
Of sheer pinnacles of mountain ranges

Pakistan had become unimaginable
The amount of people
Constantly in my face
Was over whelming
But I endured
I had a few days to get ready
My guide was an overfriendly pakistani
Brother Farid
He showed me around
Excited by the prospect of another adventure

My comrades were seasonal climbers
Professionals
From Europe
Mountain climbing was a breeze to them
But they whinged and suffered
Along this bus ride
Complaining about the people
And the food

I kept my mouth
This was all foreign to me
I had to learn and adapt
I was intrigued by the people
Some of them had silver pupils in their eyes
I became drawn
Farid told me that these are the people of Chilas and Afghani mountain ranges
That have the silver eyes
I wanted to know more
Maybe if I did get past this adventure
Maybe another adventure long for me
I got excited by life again
This is what I wanted
Adventure
Life
To feel alive
My past evaporated and I began to live in the now

I made up lies to some people what I did in my life
Kris, A czech climber and Farid knew who I really was
As we sat in one of our hotel room
Farid finding us some Afghani hashish to smoke
We talked about life
And love
And dreams
Farid wanted to make enough money to marry
Kris wanted to conquer all the mountains
He lived for this moment
Me.
I wanted to live
I dreamt about this one moment were I would feel so alive that I would be complete
I hoped this was going to be getting to the top of the mountain
They too hoped to find that one moment too
Farid hoped it was in a wife
I laughed
“Sex is easy” I laughed
“But true love isn’t,” Farid spoke “That’s what I want”
“True love. To look in the eyes of my wife, to look in the eyes of my children and grandchildren”
I envied him and realised we all have the same dreams and desires
Kris smiled
“Dreamers and adventures,” he spoke “Here is to living dreams”
Kris raised his hip flask into air

The bus was reaching into Skardu
Dawn was breaking
The bus stopped along the river
And the passenger got out in heading off to a little mosque to pray

They perform wudu
The cleansing ritual by a small waterfall
I watched them pray
The calmness and togetherness.
I didn’t have that desire to submit myself
So I held back

They finished their prayers and piled back on the bus
I still felt a strong pull between my own self and beliefs
I battled this feeling being here
I felt like a need to submit
But I couldn’t

Many hours passed and we came across a road block
The road had been ripped apart by avalanche
We gathered our gear filled in blue drums
and crossed to the connecting bus

It was the first time in a long time
I really felt the sweat and labour of work hit me
I sweated
And we worked as a team to bring our supplies across the road block
My climbing partners stood back at first
Watching the chaos
I could see it in their eyes
Despite their experience
They didn’t have the life skills
To adapt quickly to their environment and among people
Maybe it came with trust
But I knew that we need to work together
If were to get to the top
Kris was proud of me
He was the only one in there amongst the people and the chaos
“I know I can trust you on mountains,” he smiled “We make a good team”
“A good team”
We took in air breathing in the fresh air
and we clasp hands
a handshake that confirmed
a brotherhood of trust
and undying loyalty…

The Pillars - 2

Jacob Simkin

Hoppers Crossing, Australia

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