Wednesday

Up

Julia walked Lloyd out further into the golden field. It was late afternoon, and Lloyd had a hard time distinguishing which was brighter: the sky, or the ground. He squinted, as he often did, and the bright sun made his squinting eyes tear a bit at the corners. Julia's hair, now just past her shoulders, matched the surroundings splendidly, and Lloyd watched as it floated effortlessly in the light breeze. All was quiet, and the feel of her hand in his palm was calming. The whole scene gently bobbed in front of him lazily like a buoy on a calm lake surface, disturbed by the occasional ripple. It was moments like these that gave Lloyd his appreciation for the Midwest, and for Julia. Colorado is a nice place, he thought. This field felt like the right reason to have moved there.

"They have no idea how it got here," she said. Lloyd had actually momentarily forgotten what they were doing there in the first place. He hadn't even noticed the ladder.
"Can it support my weight?" He asked.
"Definitely. It gets a little wobbly toward the top, but it won't snap."

Now they were standing at the base, looking up. Lloyd couldn't help but wonder again to himself how, exactly, this thing had come to be here. There was no sign of anything else having been nearby that might warrant needing to climb it, and especially no sign of reason for ramming the thing into the ground. Still, in his languid state all he felt was a mild, satisfying curiosity.

He started climbing. At first there was no hesitation or withholding, which is not to say that he climbed swiftly. He simply had no reservations about it. But as he neared the middle, the physics of the whole thing started to dawn on his equilibrioception. The sway of the ladder, though ever so gentle, became noticeable, and his grip got tighter. Also, the smile started to fade from his face.

He paused. He looked down at Julia, who was staring back up at him. She didn't expect him to climb to the top, he knew. And, he kind of knew he wasn't going to make it up there too. For a moment, he stood there on the ladder, about halfway up, in the middle of a field in Colorado. The color returned to his cheeks, though they had never been pallor. He climbed down. When his feet came to rest on the ground, he continued to feel the levity he'd felt moments ago before his ascent, and he found himself looking back up at the top of the ladder, debating climbing it again.

That night, Lloyd and Julia lay close to one another. The window had no blinds, and the glass pane was open just a bit. It looked like a movie. In fact, the blue light bouncing off the moon came in through the windows just like in the movies. But, had they opened their eyes, it probably would have just appeared white.