WHY do you climb?
What sort of a question was that? John huffed as he drove a piton into the rock face, and not just because of the exertion. He hadn’t even wanted to do the stupid interview, but his friends had convinced him that it would “inspire people.”
Why DO you climb?
The question echoed in the vacuous space where his answer should have been. How could he articulate something so basic? Why does he breath? Why does he eat? Of course, those were things everyone did. Very few other people climbed mountains on multiple continents. So shouldn’t he have an answer?
Why do YOU climb?
The question stung like an accusation. Why must he justify his past time. Who cared? Certainly not the reporter. She seemed even less interested in the interview than he did. And in her blank, dispassionate stare, John had finally seen the pointlessness of his entire life.
Wind buffeted him on the rock face, howling:
Why do you CLIMB?
Cheek pressed against stone, John looked down. How insignificant he was to that wide world below him. How extraordinary that he should get to see it.
And because the alternative would be falling, he climbed.
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Story by Gregory M. Fox