We walked towards the mountain, my friend and I. We knew we had to cross to the other side. We had heard, the valleys across were full of milk and honey, that jobs were aplenty, people sweet and friendly and opportunities enough to achieve our dreams.
But we also knew we had to cross the mountain to reach that promised land.
We came across two paths my friend and I that led to the mountain: One broad and easy, the other narrow, treacherous and difficult. “Let’s take the easy path!” smiled my friend to me, so when we reach the mountain, we will have strength and energy to climb!”
“Let’s take the path more difficult!” I whispered, “So when we reach the beginning of the mountain, we will have muscle by then to climb!”
But my friend he smiled and walked down the broad and easy way. I watched. It did not go directly towards the mountain but turned, meandered and wandered, and all along the sides of that broad road, men and women sold their wares and even gave them away free to my happy friend. I watched as he lifted himself up with the opium offered, the drugs, the marijuana that was in every stall along the way. I watched him learn to hold his liquor down. “I can drink a full bottle!” he shouted across our roads, “and tomorrow I’ll drink two!” he said as he staggered into the arms of the tavern keeper’s daughters, who caressed his head and emptied his wallet.
I walked down the narrow road, and sometimes cursed, oftimes sobbed as thorns and rocks, sometimes small pebbles and jagged stones made me stumble, falter, fall. I looked at my friend and ever so often wished I could walk the easy walk he’d set himself to do. I warded off the beasts of the jungle, fought hunger, battled with thirst, and plodded on, and yet as I looked through my bloodied clothes I saw the beginnings of new muscle, realised resolve had grown, and determination had made me firm.
I saw my friend as he held the syringe in his hand, “It’s a high no mountain top can give!” he yelled, and then I saw the spit and vomit the next day, replace the peace he’d had the day before.
I reached the mountain and waited for my friend. It was a few days wait, and he came, broken, weak, no more a man, “I am done!” he said, and rolled over. I wept as I walked to him, lying at the foot of the mountain of life. He had not even started climbing. I looked at the effects of drugs and wine and woman and watched as he looked at me with imploring eyes. “Take me with you!” he cried.
I shook my head sadly, “You know the rules!” I said, “Each has to climb this mountain alone!” I started my climb, and my legs felt light, I ran, nearly flew up, the rough terrain. “Come, “I shouted, “It’s easy!”
“Not for those who choose the easy road!” he whispered, as his now dead eyes watched me scale the mountain and walk to the other side..!
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