Of Hiking and Zen

Daily Prompt – Recharge

My shoes were caked in mud, sweat beads ran in rivulets between my breasts and down my back, and I could hardly catch my breath as I struggled up the rocky path. Beth told me it was an easy hike. Served me right for listening to a Zumba instructor. My best friend was 50 feet ahead of me and chirping away breathlessly about the beauty of nature or some shit like that. I fought the urge to hurl a rock at her head. Just a small rock.

Trying to sigh through my breathlessness, I did find it touching that she was trying to keep my mind off of Kevin. He’d left for a new job in Chicago and had promised we would try and make our relationship work. He had only called once, the day he arrived in the new city, and promised he would call again as soon as he was settled in at work and moved into his new apartment. That had been a week ago.

“The great thing about hiking is you’re not only releasing those endorphins but you’re taking in the energy of the Earth.” Beth turned around on the path and spread her head and arms out to the sky. I am ashamed to say that I could no longer take her positive outlook so I hurled a smallish pinecone at her head. (It did far less damage than the rock, plus my aim was off and it only struck her on the shoulder.)

“What was that?” She shrieked at me. “I’m trying to help you. You need to be in a Zen place right now. You need to find a place of peace.” Her hands went to her hips and she pouted out her lips, clearly not in a Zen place herself.

“I need cell reception!” I screamed at her, waving my useless phone in the air. I had been secretly pressing buttons since the beginning of our little morning excursion and the battery was now down to single digits. “How am I supposed to answer his call if I’m in a freaking forest?” Beth could sense my frustration level was on overload and gave up on trying to calm me. “Alright, let’s get you home.” Her shoulders drooped in failure.

As soon as we were home I ran up the stairs and plugged my cell phone in to recharge the battery. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I stared at the screen waiting for the phone to come to life. I was certain he had called while we were gone. It was Saturday. He had just been busy during the week – too busy to call me. I was certain of that. Now that it was the weekend he had time to call and reassure me. If my phone would just cooperate.

Finally, there was enough juice to turn it back on. I watched as the logo played across the screen, my legs dancing up and down in anticipation. The home screen lit up. No missed calls. My breath caught in my throat. I pushed some buttons, scrolling through screens. No missed calls, no missed texts. Nothing. Damn. I swallowed back my tears and called downstairs. “Beth, I’m sorry I pegged you in the shoulder with a pinecone.”

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