“You’re gonna go out and climb rocks?”
Alice was staring at me as though I’d just turned into a ten year old boy in front of her very eyes. I nodded at her, trying to make myself look sure of it.
“Rocks,” she said again, her voice stained in disbelief.
“Well, yeah, when you say it that way . . . it sounds stupid,” I sighed and flopped onto the couch, shopping bag discarded at my feet. The momentary high I’d gotten from the new spark of interest was fading fast and I was starting to see this entire thing as it must seem to Alice. Ridiculous. I wasn’t the athletic type, at all. I was the type that would much rather lay out in the yard, under the sun with a book and a glass of wine and a big floppy hat. I didn’t like to get too cold or wet, or even too hot or too dry. Didn’t like thorns or bugs or mud. Did my best to avoid anything even remotely dangerous.
Which basically meant that I fucking loved my little house with its shady, quiet garden, yard overrun in violets.
Don’t ask me what possessed me to prance into an outdoor gear store and buy myself a pair of shoes for a ‘sport’ that I had absolutely no experience in. It might have had something to do with the picture of the muscular, sweating boy hanging from his fingertips on the big blown up poster outside the store. Might have been the way the air smelled that day, or the restless feeling that had settled heavy in my ribcage. I was feeling bored and had been flailing around aimlessly for months, looking for something new to occupy myself with. While I’d come up with any number of colorful ideas, I hadn’t acted on any of them, too afraid of becoming my mother who picked up hobbies then dropped them like hot coals.
“For fun?” Alice pressed, still not believing a word I said. Her idea of ‘fun’ was going to a wine bar, ordering a cheese platter and drinking herself silly enough to believe she was in Paris. She wore what amounted to adult-tutus and was regularly sprinkled in a fine shimmer of sparkly makeup. She’d spend an hour talking you through an art gallery and another hour dragging you through a thrift store. Her absolute favorite activity in the whole entire world was annoying the shit out of me. Because our duplexes shared a fence, which was really only a low unruly tangle of sweet peas, she was able to indulge herself often.
“For exercise. And yeah, for fun, I guess,” I retorted, grumbling a little because I really had no idea what I was in for.
Alice sat next to me and pulled the shoe box from the plastic bag, rustling through the tissue paper and gasping.
“Those are the ugliest damn shoes I’ve ever seen,” she scoffed, picking one out of the tissue paper and examining it as though it was an alien insect, held in the tips of her fingers in case it stung. Coming from her, this was the understatement of the century, considering the sky high heels she was sporting that like looked sort of like medieval torture devices.
“The guy at the store says they’re the best.” I eyed the insect-alien, trying to find some beauty in it, but she was right. It was ugly. Curved in on itself like some weird chrysalis and I couldn’t actually believe that the guy wanted me to fit my whole foot in there at first. Christ, it was like a child’s toy. He assured me that they were meant to cut off your circulation like that and it would make a whole lot more sense once I was actually out there on a rock.
He looked a little worried for me, but I ignored him.