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Mountains are a peaceful sort, despite the roar the wind makes as it gathers the clouds that sit atop the peaks. As I look from summit to summit, the world dissipates into oblivion beneath the most untouchable pools of mercury. The snow is different at the top. At the base of the mountains, the snow compresses beneath any weight set upon it, and molds itself to resemble the intrusion. But at the crest, a gentle breeze arrives every few moments to sweep the underlying flakes from below, exploding the ashen crystals like fireworks.
I've felt that breeze only once, the very first time Seth tried to coax me up the last hill. I
remember gazing up at him as he fell to the ground on his back, lying in wait for me to join him there. Every last step I took was brutal, yet to this day I can't say I regret any of them.
I'm often reminded of why I think of Seth as 'tranquility personified', and that early summer day was no exception to the trend. I sat facing the east, gazing at the sun's foggy glow as it birthed the infant hours of the day. A gust of wind hit us then, scattering the snow and also Seth's long, ivory colored hair. The atmosphere was feral, changing its course every moment. Seth smelled of dry paper and smoke, and the feeling I experienced when it laced into the razor sharp cold of the heavens was nearly euphoric. Minutes passed that way, and then Seth turned to me as he drew in a long breath. His eyes were a piercing navy blue, as deep as the valleys beneath us.
'Let's plant the flowers,' he said.
We scooped the snow away from the ground long enough to dig two decently sized holes. In the gap that I had made, I placed the stem of Seth's iris. In his diminutive fissure, he placed my clover. We knew that neither of our plants would survive the afternoon. We talked through the morning, neither of us feeling especially profound or troubled, so it wasn't anything worth remembering. But Seth said something to me before we rose to begin our descent and effectively ended the conversation, and I can't let myself forget a single word.
'We all manage to find the worth in ourselves, so why can't we find the worth in others?'
I can't remember Seth ever being wrong about anything before that, but he had broken the streak in just one sentence. He was wrong.
I saw more worth in him than I had ever seen in myself. It's the reason I'm back on top of the same mountain today, foolishly digging through the snow searching for his iris, now almost a year old. I upturn the snow and watch it rupture in the air, never finding a single petal.
There are no seasons on top of the mountains, never a summer or spring, only a perpetual winter. Although today seems colder than the last time I was here. It's as bitter and torturous as Lucifer himself, eternal and livid, and very much alive. Salty tears roll down my face, freezing before they hit the ground and disturb the snow. Seth' the world is a terrifying place. There's no guarantee that the coil won't break me, just like your iris.
The icy chill makes it impossible for me to move from my spot on the ground, my eyes growing more sunken and red by the second. As I look from summit to summit, the world dissipates into oblivion and the screams of the wind carry on, roaring in the absence of Seth.