I reached into the chalk bag and I felt the sweat disappear from my palm into the ball of foam in there. It was one of those moments in the movies where the camera cuts to a low angle shot and pans up to the back of the tall athletic tan white male protagonist just in time for you to see him take a deep breath in slow motion under the glare of an overhanging sun about to have his moment of epic victory; except I wasn’t the tall athletic strong but recently failing white male protagonist.
I was a short skinny brown man/boy? Man-child? My phone was in the side pocket of my Arsenal duffel. I could almost feel it vibrating from a ten foot distance or perhaps it was that I could faintly hear the weird ringtone (always hated that word) from the distance drowning under the chattering of the climbing crowd.
The moment I lay my hand on the first support. I heard Chet Faker’s Gold start playing in the background. I thought, ‘Brilliant, if I fall on my ass and shatter my hip, I will at least do it listening to a great song thinking about the everyday crisis that is my love life’
My partner belaying me was a French guy messy blonde hair, and a thick accent. Not easy to communicate with. I was nervous because he was doing this for the first time. I wasn’t.
The climb I was about to start was tougher than the ones we had done previously today. His lack of experience wasn’t an issue but his lack of care with the belaying equipment was. Half-way up the thirty foot climb. I was scared to see him holding the rope casually and limply and the decision was made. I yelled at him to lower me. I was going down on Thelma Plum’s how much does your love cost.
Don’t know about love but I do know that hip replacements do cost a lot.