The Summit

The valley of victimization was a gangrenous gorge; the abuse, an abyss that you were guilelessly led into by a guide who knew all too well the way of wickedness. You now survey all the savagery and sorrow from the summit. Your once straight spine is now serpentine from the backpack of brutality; your frame fractured from the headwinds of harm; your limbs lethargic from the simultaneously steep and slippery slope. The traumatic terrain was daily drenched in the dew of despair. Vivid are the memories of the long arduous days and the longer deleterious nights. You can still smell the oppressive air – but boy golly, the view from here…

This is not like the natural world where you get blisters on your bones from an inhuman walk in an inhospitable woods. It is more akin to fording through a swampland of shame, muddled with a disorienting slew of silence and secondary sewage. You have limited supplies and your compass is broke. Even so, you have to carry the equivalent of triple your body weight and do so over your head. Good luck getting out, much less up. Surviving the valley of victimization is an exercise in endurance and exhaustion: reaching the mountaintop? A bloody miracle.

It is sobering to reach the summit of your own sorrow. There is no exuberance, only exhaustion. There is no elation — simply a slow sucking in of the ambient oxygen, with the heady awareness that the air is frivolously free from abuse. If you could frolic, you would. You cannot, so you settle for small sips of simplicity. You tell yourself you are lucky to still be and you are right.

You see the waning lights. They are other sojourners of sorrow. You know that to descend to give directions, is to die. You reason that you are no good to anyone dead, so you light a fire instead. You send smoke signals by day and your little fire lights the long nights. You tell yourself that this is for those who are still in the valley, whose compass is broke, whose pack is perilous, but who have hope for a way up and a way out, and you are right.

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