Ever since Joe was a child, he knew what he wanted to do and was determined to accomplish it. He spent days and nights looking out of his window gazing over the hill at that star that shone so brightly it was visible even during the day. It seemed so unique, so magnificent, that he was sure there was something extraordinary about it. If he could just get closer to it, he might figure out what it was.
When he became of age, Joe set off to climb the hill. He didn’t know how long it would take, as the hill turned out to be a mountain once he got closer to it. It’s funny how distance is so deceiving, he thought; it makes it all seem smaller and closer than they truly are. Nonetheless, Joe did not lose hope. He wanted to reach the star and made it his ultimate purpose.
As he climbed the mountain, setting his own pace, he came across little animals whom he befriended as much as possible, rare flowers and rural beauties. They were all things he had never seen before and that made them even more special. Days passed and Joe was still climbing. He could see he was quite high now, as the view of the town below became spectacular. The wind was also getting colder as he climbed and he could sense the oxygen levels dropping.
One night, he almost froze, but just before the crack of dawn he woke up staring into two big blue eyes. Her name was Jill. She lived in the mountains and had golden hair, which she had tied into two dreadlocks either side of her small round head. She was mesmerizing, kind and sweet and had saved him from freezing. The blanket she had covered him with was made out of sheepskin and she had also brought warm soup in a natural flask. Her family knew how to survive in the mountains, and so did she.
It wasn’t long after he described his quest that Jill announced she would accompany him. Joe was delighted. After all some company was more than welcome, and he could not have asked for anything better than this.
More days passed and these probably turned into months too. But the mountain top still seemed far away. Jill began to lose hope, something she said she rarely ever did. Joe tried as much as possible to console and revive the feeling of excitement he had seen in her eyes when he first described his mission. But to no avail. Jill became sick and decided she could no longer carry on. She turned away with tears in her eyes as she began her descent back home. Joe was once again left alone.
The star was shining brighter than ever.
It may have been a month, it may have been a year. Joe finally reached the summit. The view from up there was incomparable to anything he had ever seen. He was literally standing on top of the world – at least the one he knew about. It was amazing, and he had managed to reach his destination. He was proud of his accomplishment. Until the time he looked up.
The star was still far away. And it even seemed to be at the top of the adjacent mountain. Joe could still not discern what made it glow so brightly and so exquisitely. Perhaps he should go and climb the other mountain now. He thought about all he had learned and experienced during his ascend. He had witnessed more natural wonders and had learned more about survival and personal quests than most people would manage in a lifetime. Yet now the only way forward was down. So he sighed, and began his descend. Maybe the answers would be found there.
As he slowly climbed back down the mountain, he kept looking back and staring at the star shining behind him. What was the lesson to be gained out of all this? he thought. And then it struck him. No matter how far you climb, some things are always unreachable. It is the journey that will teach you the lesson. Yet it is always disappointing to realize that your initial goal cannot be accomplished. Sometimes, though, all you can do is go and start over, hoping that this time you will find a target closer to your reach.
Also part of Daily Prompt: Envelope Pushers
Posted in Short Stories
and tagged ambition
, daily post
, personal quest
, short stories
, short story
, writing challenge
, writing prompt