Pride This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Exhausted and worn, we struggle on, our sweat-soaked and begrimed bodies numbly resisting movement. No bright conversation punctuated the heavy crunch of shoes on sand; no one pointed out or even looked at the solid blue sky, the intricate patterns in the rocks, the beautiful desert fauna; brains previously involved in philosophical musings now thought nothing except "left foot, right foot." The interminable march had drained us completely, and yet we hiked onward. Stomachs empty, necks burning red, we hiked on , for they had promised us a bus.

Our summer itinerary had included lectures from well-known Israeli political and literary figures as well as an appreciable amount of touring. Unfortunately, regarding this particular trek from nowhere to nowhere, somewhere in the Negev desert, someone had humanly erred, and we did not feel sufficiently divine to forgive. Our water, whose precious drops we had earlier spilled with indifference, had run out shortly after the bus failed to meet us. Our guide, Michah, had assured us long ago we need but stroll "five minutes, relatively." And so, another march, an hour's rest in the lack of shade beneath a thorny tree, a sip of horrid water brought from what our counselors described as a faraway "undrinkable oasis." We endured another tortuous journey, and as we cooled ourselves in that self same oasis, we drank that Olympian nectar: fresh (warm) water! Joyfully, momentarily refreshed, we commenced anew our painful odyssey. And the five minutes stretched and stretched. Five hours later (but only five minutes, relatively) we saw the hill.

No sophisticated metaphor could describe the hill; it too obviously had been, was, and would forever be a hill. Strewn with jagged rocks, it belied any contemplation of further progress. And yet... there at the top it lay. Our Deliverance , the bus! My stalwart companions had begun to toil upwards, simultaneously mouthing blessings and curses, when a ridiculous thought struck the cloudy, undefended mass that had been my brain: unable to recognize the idiocy of such action, I initiated an uncontrolled run up the slope. Not a run, actually; more accurately, an uncontrolled stumbling jog, which nonetheless carried me past most of my confused fellows. At the top, my muscles unanimously gave out, and I barely reached the bus.

Most of the group hated that day; I felt exhilarated by it. After an entire day in the desert sun, after miles of arduous hiking, after several hours without water, I ran up that hill. I, Amir Karger, conquered the desert. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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