I have been a (lax) member of the Red Dress Club for a while now. They have weekly writing prompts, which I’ve fully intended to jump in on…um…but…um. Yeah. No excuse other than life, kids, etc etc.
This week they announced a new memoir prompt. This caught my eye.
The prompt went like this:
This week, we want you to imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see?
The following post wrote itself, then I whittled it down to the RDC’s word limit.
At the end, I’ll touch on why I chose this and link to a related post that may help you understand this one better.
I will keep a link to this and all future RDC writing prompt posts on my Red Dress Club Page page.
Here you go:
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Red Dress Club Memoir Prompt: 5 Minutes for My Kids
The smell of stone and sweat rushed my nose as I brushed a wisp of blonde hair from my eyes. I patted my hands one by one on my smooth Lycra-clad thigh. I reached up, pinching the slight jut of rock just above my head, then lifted my leg to dig the rubber toe of my rock climbing shoe into a jagged diagonal indent by my knee.
I moved up.
The sun beat my back as I lifted myself from the shade of the tall evergreens, the only sound up here being the delicate clinking of the carabiners and cams swaying from my harness like a wind chime.
The soft shimmer of golden granite in the morning light was inches from my face, and I let the coolness of the mountain calm me.
I reached to slip one hand, then another into the fat horizontal crack. I tacked my feet to the wall.
Slowly I dried my hands, this time my thighs gently trembling with fear.
Eyes on the crack before me, I reached into the chalk bag dangling behind me, lightly coating my hands.
I grasped the hardware jammed deep in the crack, squeezed the trigger, swiveled it slightly, and slipped that silvery clip out. My chalky thumb pressed the lever on the carabiner as I shakily slid the thick rope from it, and clipped it to the purple loop of my harness.
Momentarily the length of rope keeping me safely tethered to my friend up above bowed, drawing my eye the full length of the horizontal crack I now needed to traverse.
The sun was sliced by my cheekbone as it tried to comfort me. My fear of heights rushed back, drying my tongue fat and heavy.
The rope’s slack was pulled taut by my friend above. It was up to me now.
The only way up was for me to first go across.
I mustered courage, cold sweat dampening my tank top.
I reached to the right.
I can do this.
I crept out into the exposed section of the mountain face.
Tiny stones crumbled from the crack as I slid my fingers across. My mind and body were a silent rage of fear of determination.
Don’t look down.
I inched across the face of my enemy, kicking and screaming at the fear that rushed my head. I focused on the smell of my silty hands.
This smell was one of my favorites, a mixture of me and stone and earth and chalk and sweat. Of past triumphs.
Then I looked down.
A tiny grey stone leaped from the crack and shrank down through the air. I abruptly saw exactly how far up I was.
A cold bath of panic overcame me.
Frenzied, I rushed, losing my footing. The gentle scraping of rubber against granite was all I heard before my sweat-slicked hands gave away.
Like a pendulum, I dropped and soundlessly, breathlessly swung down and over.
I yelped as I hit the rough wall, scraping off the damp flesh of my right arm.
I gasped as the swinging swirled and slowed.
I was down, hurt, angry.
At myself, the rock, my friend for believing in me.
At the person who gave me this fear of heights I thought I had beaten.
I looked up and saw the crack, mocking me.
I dried and chalked my hands once more.
Before that cloud of chalk could dissipate, I pushed myself back up. I pushed my pain, my fear, my doubts away.
I climbed back up to that snarling crack and filled it with my fist.
I looked up further.
And just went.
It took but a minute for me to rise above my horizontal nemesis.
Then I turned around.
Across the valley, treetops were dappled with the shadows of scattered happy clouds. The land was peppered with glittering lakes. Roads looked like ribbons.
I leaned into the rock to thank it for the challenge, as I let the beauty of what I wouldn’t have seen had I given up on myself wash over me.
I smiled at the vastness under and around me one more moment.
Then I turned back to the rock and kept climbing.
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