such great heights

The climb was painstaking. Every foothold was a lie; every single step forward came at a cost of two steps backward. Backsliding for weeks at a time. She told herself that even the longest, darkest winters end. But deep down she didn't know if she really believed that. And some days, she didn't even bother trying to haul herself up. Some days she just sat and let the cold strip her to the bones of pure sadness. 

Then one morning, a memory broke across her. But though she flinched for the pain, there was nothing in it but sight and sound. It had no force behind it. It was a flickering movie screen: one dimensional. Neutral. She took this memory in her hands and carefully unfolded it. As she opened it up, more details escaped. A tone of voice. A turn of phrase. A touch of skin. 

But it didn't hurt. Miraculously, against all the odds she'd stacked up in hopeless confusion - it didn't hurt. And that's when she knew she'd reached the top of the tallest mountain in the world. Without even realizing it, she'd moved up and through and away and beyond.

With slow, measured steps she crept out onto the highest peak, wondering what the view would be, and what glimpses of future happiness she might have. But the mountain was so high it ended in clouds. There was nothing to see, but plenty to feel. And that's when she realized:

There are an infinite number of futures.

There is only one present.

But for some, there are two pasts: the one we want to believe happened, and the one that actually did. You can see them both, but only if you climb the tallest mountain in the world.