THE BELOW ACCOUNT IS MADE UP OF BOTH FICTIONAL AND FACTUAL EVENTS
It was another one of those nights. The kind I complain about beforehand for weeks without, at any point, making moves to get out of actually going. I just like to complain, some say, but I’ve always seen it more as doing something to make someone happy. How self-involved to think my presence will have any influence on happiness, but if I’m asked, I guess I don’t like to say no. So I stood there. Cold. I was f**king freezing, actually. I hadn’t dressed right for what was in store. I was warned, but I still didn’t dress right. See, I’m not outdoorsy so I don’t own “outdoor attire”. In fact, I’ve always felt that I can’t be friends with anyone who owns a pair of hiking boots, so it would be very out of character for me to have my own “outdoor attire”. The sentiment annoys me. Hiking? Please. Take a hike out of here with that mess. I am not interested. But show me a photo and I’ll admire it fondly. Better yet, show me a video and I’ll watch intently. It’s ok, I hear myself, but I still don’t want to hike. What if you get bored and you’re stuck some place with someone and they’re bugging you? But you’re stuck. What do you do then?
It was the first time I’d ever been to Edinburgh, so that was exciting. Expensive, but exciting. The festival was happening at the time and I’d always wanted to go, so I went. I met old friends and we drank and we laughed. We talked and we bickered. We ate and we danced. I puked and they cleaned. We drank and we laughed. It was a wonderful time and a well needed break. Things had been happening that changed the way I thought about mortality and life. My mind-set was shifting and I felt uneasy. I felt selfish to talk out loud about my thoughts because the things that were happening were not happening to me. I was outside of it all, yet tangled all the way up in it somehow and it was changing me. I could only hear the loudest screams, but the bitterest scratched at my heels and the sweetest tore at my heart. I tucked them all away into a station locker and there they would wait until my trip was over.
I had secretly hoped that the cold night would never come around. That the fun we were having would tire us out and put a pause to the plan. It didn’t, of course. So at 3am, three of us set off into the mountains – some say hills, I say mountains – in the dark and cold of the night. The plan was to sit at the top and watch the sunrise together on the last morning of my trip. It was a wonderfully sentimental plan wasted on a hideously unsentimental individual ill-prepared for the “outdoors”. In my canvas shoes and non-waterproof jacket, I walked in the rain and mud with the most convincing fake smile I could muster. “We did warn you,” they’d say. “I’m actually fine,” I’d reply, squelching onwards with no outward complaint. Eventually, I reached the top. 30 minutes after the others. I wanted nothing more than to lay down for a moment and rest my poor trench foot, but the unrelenting rain denied me of such sweet a relief.
I looked around for my friends, but they were nowhere to be seen. Great. I walked a little until I noticed their silhouette in the near distance, entwined in an embrace. The two figures merged into one, truly engulfed by the romance of the moment as the horizon slowly birthed the morning sun. How sweet. How f**king sweet for them. I sighed one of those long and thoughtful sighs. Not wanting to creepily watch their love unfolding, I reached for the alcohol and took for the hills to explore a little further. The rain had stopped by this point and the sunrise was beautiful. So I made for the darkest spot with the poorest view and sat on a rock to drink my drink. I enjoy solitude because it gives me time to ponder, so ponder I did. I pondered hard on that rock that morning, until a friendly voice broke my meditation.
“Hi,” he said. “Hi,” I replied. He sat next to me on my rock. I wasn’t alarmed. In fact, I was really happy to have him there, next to me, on that rock that morning. “What’s your name?” I asked him. “Seymour,” he replied. Fitting. He looked like a Seymour to me somehow. I looked into his eyes and saw something I’d never seen before. They seemed so unburdened and welcoming. If I wanted to, I could have found out everything there was to know about Seymour that morning. He would have answered anything I asked earnestly, but I didn’t dare to ask. Not too much, anyway. I felt it right for him to keep some things to himself. Retain an element of mystery. It’s not always necessary for us to know everything. We spoil so many things for ourselves in that way. I didn’t want to spoil my moment with Seymour.
“I noticed you struggling to get up here,” he said in an accent unknown to me. “You did?” “Yeah, I wanted to help you, but then realised I enjoyed just watching.” I blushed. He enjoyed me. This man, this creature, so unique to my eyes and anything I have ever known was enjoying me! He laughed at my embarrassment, causing me to frown, of course, causing him to laugh some more. Oh, how I wanted to ask him everything. We laughed together for a while about trivial things. I marvelled over his unique appearance. He marvelled back at mine – which I didn’t entirely appreciate. We talked about my friends and their love. He told me he’d never felt love before and I told him he just needed to open his eyes to it. I saw naivety in him at that. He was vulnerable and childlike. How could that be? I did not dare to ask too much.
I did, however, learn some of his troubled past. He told me that he had lived in Scotland all of his life, though he was a travelling man, never settling in one location for any length of time. His Canadian ancestors had traversed the seas, by means my mortal mind could not understand despite careful explanation, many moons ago to escape persecution. He had never known the turmoil of his people and was happy for things to stay that way and so made me vow to never speak of this meeting to another human soul. He trusted me and I vowed to him there and then. We had bonded, Seymour and I. A brief encounter destined to live for eternity in my heart. My Seymour.
“Would you mind if I snuggled up to you, Seymour?” I asked him. “No, Jessica, I wouldn’t mind that at all.” I hadn’t yet told him my name and I didn’t care to know how he knew. He was almost twice the size of me, so I tucked under his arm like a cradled child. He could have broken me in the swiftest of movements, but he was gentle and soft. He sang to me on that rock that morning. Who would have thought he could sing so sweetly.
I fell in love on that rock. I fell in love with ideas, possibility, hope…and a sasquatch.