I was exhausted! They had told me I wouldn't be able to do it and had begged me, even pleaded with me, not to do it . . . but I was bound and determined. I was going to do it!
There was pain . . . a lot of it. I knew it was because this was all so new to me. I grabbed hold of the railing and waited until the intense pounding stopped.
The memories returned. Flying down the mountain, kicking up vast amounts of snow on every turn, the full moon in the background, pushing, pushing, to go even faster, the exhilarating feelings, the high, the tremendous high of the slopes, the sudden rabbit in her path out of nowhere, the terrible feeling, the attempted veer off to the left, the loss of control, the too quickly approaching trees, the sudden, shocking impact, the pain . . . the intense pain, something bad was going to happen . . .
and it had too. She didn't think she would live through it!
"Go up the Eiffel Tower." This from my friend, Frieda. "Yeah, right! Going up the elevator would be real fun." "No, stupid, you're going to walk . . . you're going to take the stairs." I looked at her, dazed and unbelieving . . . was she making fun of me? "And what purpose would that serve? To give others climbing a good laugh?" Now it was her turn to look dazed. "You don't know, do you? I consider you one of the strongest people I know. I'm your friend. I would NEVER bring up something for you to do which would hurt you. I really believe this is exactly what you need."
And here I am, about halfway up. And it's only taken me three years. I had about regained my breath. It was time to resume my trek. Another step for mankind!! I smiled at myself.
What a sense of humor!
Well, here goes . . . the first step was always the worst. Oh, my God! She looked down. That looked almost as bad . . . might as well continue upward!
One step. The next. The next. One more. On and on, on and on, would it never end!
I can't take it any more!!! She stopped. Ragged breathing, sucking it in huge gulps, feeling sick and wobbly. A glance downward. Her peanut gallery was down there somewhere . . . her Holly fan club . . . you can do it, Holly. We know you can. Now, if I only knew I can.
She looked up . . . then did a double-take. She was there. She couldn't believe it! The first floor!
She grabbed the iron post and pulled hard . . . she was on the landing. A couple who had been in the midst of a deep French kiss stopped momentarily to notice the interruption, then returned as quickly once they realized it was nothing important.
Taking the last remaining vestiges of her inner strength, she slowly hobbled over to the bench. Once there, she collapsed heavily onto it, slowly regaining her composure and her focus. She had done it!! Frieda was right. she looked down to examine the damages. No matter how it felt, everything looked fine!
She reached down and slowly removed her prosthetic leg.