“I welcome my journey with a strong heart. I stand tall and love the fresh air that comes from following this ever onward road. I stride in bold steps, feeling a sense of pride in each one. And this journey is not about a destination, nor arrival point or finish line... for there is no such thing. This journey is about the travelling, the travelling companions and the reason for the noble struggle. Friends come, friends go, oftentimes I am alone, yet I have my compass, I have my path and I have two well-clad feet each dawn.”
21 DECEMBER 2021- MIAMI, FLORIDA
“You can do it, Adeline!” She encouraged herself as her hand gripped the branch above her and she pulled herself up, just managing to keep a hold of the slippery, wet wood.
While she was focusing on climbing the tree, a voice scared the hell out of her, when it asked, “What is the name of God are you doing Adeline Martinez?”
“Ah!” She shrieked and almost lost her balance when her right palm tightened the hold on one of the branches as half of her body swayed opposite to the tree.
Adeline was thankful for her workout sessions which strengthened her shoulders to hold her weight against a phenomenon discovered by none other than our beloved Sir Newton.
Ugh! Sarcasm noted.
Balancing herself, she looked down and yelled, “What the f**k Ace?! I almost fell down!”
He just looked at her, well it was more of a glare. “Yes, keyword- almost. Now, do tell me what the hell are you trying to accomplish?” He asked in a bit of an angry tone.
Adeline's Voice-controlled when she said, “In case you haven't noticed, we are surrounded by one hundred- feet- tall trees on all sides. We cannot even see the ground a few inches away. Let alone any passage of trees!”
“I noticed!” Ace snapped.
“Shut up! Now that you have taken this BIG task into your hands, hurry up we do not have a whole evening. Sunset is near.”
Gritting her teeth, “Don’t act like an egotistical jerk! And by the way, I was trying this stupid idea to find your stupid ass!”
A smirk formed on his lips as he held one of his hands on his heart, saying, “I’m so touched Martinez.” And in a swift motion, he flicked his fingers, ordering her. “Now, get back to your work.”
Groaning, Adeline turned her face towards the tree, accompanied by a cacophony of swear words. “Curse him to hell and back! i***t! Bloody dog!”
And, slowly she made her way up the tree. Now and again, an orangutan would watch her quizzically from a neighbouring tree, probably wondering what this harmless speci-woman- if that was even a word, was doing up here. Well, she was wondering the same thing herself.
“Are you there yet?” A familiar irritating voice Rose up to her from far below.
Halting for a moment, she looked up at the eighty feet or so of the slippery tree above her, “Why don’t you come up and find your bloody answer?!”
“Not interested. Now, get moving on! We don’t have all day!”
Clenching her teeth, she bit back the selection of favourites from her collection of international curse words that she would have liked to hurl at him. “Yes, sir, why not!”
“And don’t fall off! A call from this height would kill you and I don’t want to be the target of your beast saviour!”
Then, she grabbed the next branch.
Do you know what was most annoying about all this? Well, for a fact, her palms had several cuts by now, her jeans were torn in more places than she could count, she had leaves and twigs tangled everywhere in her hair, and at last, the fact that she was hovering in a tree fifty yards above the ground, ready to fall to her death at any moment.
The most annoying this was that she CHOSE to climb this thrice-blasted big tree and Ace egged her on from below with his idiotic little comments, all that she wanted to do was get down and shut him up. With a slap on his face.
Yes. That was how far she was gone. That bloody brother of hers did not even try to offer help, and all she wanted to do when she got down again was throw him around the forest. Now, she has to ask one question, was that a sensible thing to do?
Well, her new best friend, a monkey on the tree next to her offered his opinion on the matter, by rolling his eyes and turning its back on her and waggling its impressive red butts at her face.
Wait, can monkeys roll their eyes?
If they could, then man, it would be ….. s-t-r-a-n-g-e!
Even the monkeys thought she was pathetic! Great! Fantastic! Awesome!
After one hundred and eleven more branches, and there were seven hundred seventy-seven two more were there yet, she was finally as high as she dared to go. The branch she was sitting on already made a sound of creak suspiciously under her generous derrière, and she had a suspicion that the branches farther up would be even less likely to support her diet of hot cocoa.
From far below, out of the nether regions, where the devils of hell lived, came a monotonous voice: “Are you there yet?”
Adeline counted to seven, then decided even counting to a million wouldn’t help to cool her temper down, and simply answered: “YES!”
“Good. Well, you took your time. Now, use your eyes and tell me what you see?”
For the first time since reaching the upper regions of the tree, she looked around- and words failed her.
A beautiful streaming sea of green velvet stretched in front of her in all directions. And by luck, the tree she chose was quite higher than all the others around her, so she had an excellent view of what people called: “A chorus of greens dance in a celebratory wind, each of them ever ignited by sunlight.”
The words didn’t do it justice. Something more was needed, something chaotic and breathtaking and infinitely large. A beautiful colourful bird rose above a tree in the distance, singing for the forest in a melodious voice that tugged at her heart. Far, far away in the distance -
And she was again cut off by an evil man- Arris Jonathan.
“I’m working on it, now shut up!”
Ordering her eyes to stop staring in wonder and get back to work, she started searching for a distant looking passage of different kinds of trees. But, again that colourful bird caught her attention as it flew, flew, and flew; when it suddenly disappeared.
Her eyes widened, as she closed them again and opened them to see what she had has just seen. But, instead of a bird she saw a sparkling band of water glistening between majestic trees at the foot of a peak that rose high and solitary into the air, covered with luscious trees about halfway up its slopes, then slowly tuning sparser until, at the very top. It had bluish fog or call it a hue around it. Pulling out the compass that she had in her pocket, she let it snap open and levelled it at the distant height.
“What’s taking you so long?”
“Be quiet! That shouldn’t be too difficult for you, now, should it?”
Adeline watched as the compass needle teetered and finally came to a halt. She took a long, good look at the face of the instrument to make sure everything was in order, then nodded to herself.
“All right!” She called down. “I found something. We need to go back and then go eastwards!”
What! Would it kill him to say, ‘Good work’ or something like that!
Yes, he might choke on it.
Ignoring him, she tucked away from the compass and was just about to start sliding down the tree again when something struck her mind.
The voice sounded more gruff and cold. Adeline was absolutely sure, it did not belong to Ace. Then, to whom?
Okay, Adeline didn’t have to act, she certainly knew to whom it belonged because currently she was frozen at the place where she was.
She did not look down, not even trying to get a single glimpse of who else stood on the ground below her.
“Ace?” She called quietly, hoping he was there.
There was silence from the bottom of the tree for a moment, while she tried to calm her heart down. Then…
Who replied to her?
Was it the person whom she was thinking?
Or someone else?