Looking down wasn’t what terrified me. Looking up is what terrified me. Looking down was calming to me. The nice ground, where I belonged, my comfort zone. Down was also somewhere I was far too used to. Still, up was where I wasn’t supposed to be. Up was somewhere I had never been. So I decided to look neither up nor down, but straight ahead. The most current rung. I looked at that.
The view at the top was even more breathtaking than the spontaneous 15 story climb. The entire city where I grew up stretched out in front of me. Lights in the distance dancing on what seemed an infinite horizon.
There I sat, cold metal pressing on my legs. Breeze picking up. A moment that should have caused my heart to race but really made me feel at ease. Like someone had built this moment a long time ago and knew exactly how it would make me feel.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
I used to hate it when people said that to me. They said it in times of adversity and in times when I was being tested by whatever higher power was up there. The dreadful saying turned out to become somewhat of a motto for me this summer.
Hank. Young, big belly laugh, a little quirky at times, kind, daring to try new things, loving. The kind of person you would want to be friends with. The kind of person you would regret not being friends with. Losing Hank was something I wasn’t prepared to deal with.
Yes, everyone dies and I was well aware of that. I had lost close family members before but this sudden, freak accident took my heart and ripped it wide open. The standard questions popped into my head. Over and over again they raced through my mind. “How could there be a point to this? Why did it have to happen? Wasn’t he too young? Didn’t he have his whole life ahead of him?” All of these questions, pointless. Never to be answered.
Then I realized, the point wasn’t that the Hank’s earthly life had ended but that his death would affect the lives of the people around him. Each differently, individually. Independently. Because what is death to the living, really?
This death was a wake up call. No matter how well I seemed to have figured out the world or how perfect my 5-year plan was, I had no clue what the future really had in store. I did know that every step along the way was already placed perfectly in time. Even the bad. I also knew I had to let go of the past. The past takes up too much room on the ever-changing ladder of life.
Everything happens for a reason. My saving grace. So I decided to do something that Hank would have done. I climbed a water tower.