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His breath hung in clouds around his face. The snow beneath his feet crunched as he shifted his weary legs. Howling its displeasure, the wind battered him and forced him to grasp the rock wall for safety. He looked up, blinking as sweat ran into his eyes. The summit was not too far. However, he would have to exert all his remaining energy to accomplish this task. He took one final deep breath and grasped a handhold above him. He slotted his other hand into a crevice in the rock wall. Using only the power of his arms, he raised his feet off the ledge on which he had rested, and found small ledges to position them on. Grimly, he began advancing up the face of the mountain, hand by hand, foot by foot.
The climb quickly turned into a monotonous rhythm, he moving his arms and legs in an unending pattern. Meanwhile, the flat plateau of the summit crept slowly nearer and nearer by mere inches. As he ascended, the snow and wind worsened. Soon, it was pummeling his face with unyielding force and battering everything else left exposed. Yet, he still resolutely climbed on.
Ice crystals formed on his eyebrows and beard. His arms and legs felt like lead, shaking uncontrollably. His insulated, protective clothes were weights on his exhausted body, adding more trouble to this climb. Looking up, he could see the summit, looming over him. He had to make it there!
His clothes were drenched and heavy, dragging him down, and threatening to pull him off the mountainside. He couldn’t seem to draw enough breath, and his lungs were ready to burst. He was pelted with snow and ice, which were accelerated to extreme speeds by the screaming, tearing wind. The black rock was warm against his frozen cheek. His limbs were in such pain that it was mind-numbing.
His fingers shook on the tiny ledge he was grasping, ready to let go of their tenacious grip at any moment. He was no longer cold; he was too frozen and frostbitten to feel so.The agony he suffered was enough to distract him from his goal of ascending the mountain.
His suffering, uncontrollably shaking feet found a small, but usable ledge on which he could rest on. Sighing in relief, he relaxed the tension in his aching hands. His entire body shook. He did not know whether it was from cold or exhaustion or just anxiety. The sleet battered his face as he peered at the summit. He still had a ways to go.
His mind raced. Would he be able to even reach the top? There was no point in still climbing if he couldn’t make it. Unconsciously releasing the rock with one hand, it crept toward the two-way radio on his belt.
It might be best to quit the climb where he was. All he had to do was say two words into the radio. I’m done.
He probably wasn’t meant to ascend this mountain anyway. This journey was going to end in a fail, again. His entire life had been a failure. Everything from childhood to adulthood. His grades in school had been bad; he had never been able to join any sports teams, and he had always been an outcast. He had no friends, no one with whom he was able to share his feelings. His parents were dead, and there was no one for whom he could turn. All the jobs he had pursued had turned out to be busts; and now, he was homeless, jobless, and moneyless. He was a failure.
He should just leave now. His hand plucked the radio from his belt. There was no point. This would end in defeat. He knew it was better to quit now. It was his destiny to fail anyway.
Suddenly, he thought about having to face defeat again. The gloating, mocking faces that sneered at his lack of success. He did not want to go there again. He did not want to be the worst of the worst. It was his time to persevere and become the best. He loved climbing, and the exhilaration of being on top of the world. His critics would not hear that he had failed again. He would not fail to climb Mount Everest.
Clenching the wall tightly with his one hand, he pivoted and tossed the radio off the mountainside with his other. He watched it fall and heard the crack of plastic and metal on rock hundreds of feet below him.
Taking deep, heavy breaths, he summoned the last vestiges of energy in his body and continued climbing. The air was freezing, but his confidence kept him warm. The snow pelted him, but his drive for success protected him. The wind threatened to tear him off the wall, but his perseverance sustained his tenacious grip.
Ignoring the dangers that faced him, he steadily climbed the wall, hand by hand, foot by foot. The perils that grew steadily worse were nothing against his desire. The summit was getting closer and closer. He could see it through the blinding snowstorm, towering just over him.
His confidence outweighed his weariness; he no longer felt fatigued. He grew nearer and nearer to the summit. He could almost reach it!
Finally, his fingers grasped the flat edge of the summit. He had made it! An enormous sense of gratitude and thanks filled him.
As he heaved himself over the side of the summit, he felt an colossal weight removed from his shoulders. There was no longer anyone from whom to cower. He had succeeded and was no longer an outcast. He could proclaim he was the champion of Mount Everest. He had done what most who had mocked him had not. Triumphantly, he raised his hands over his head and yelled in celebration.
He was no longer a failure. He had changed his destiny.