C A R R Y

“Ellie-May! Stop climbing and get in this house right now!” screamed Ellie-May’s grandmother from the kitchen window.

Everything was covered in snow. The ground, the climb and her.

Ellie-May wasn’t sure how her grandmother had seen her because she’d stopped climbing somewhere near the top. She felt frozen in place when her curiosity disappeared and was replaced with pain.

She was tired of her grandmother ordering her around like a child, she was thirty-three after all.

Climbing down she walked several hundred yards to the backdoor where she took off her snow gear and placed her tools next to the outdoor trash bin. Her frustration quickly melted away to a warm smile when she opened the door and was greeted by the scent of her grandmother’s peach cobbler.

Walking towards her she chuckled because as she nurtured their dinner of venison soup she swayed her hips back and forth while singing Just a Little Walk With Jesus.

“Hi, Grandma. It smells wonderful in here.” she said while putting her hand on her shoulder and kissing her cheek.

Turning around, her grandmother returned her smile and asked, “Did you get your puzzle figured out?”

“Not today Grandma. I was gonna use the old jigsaw at the top but then you called me in.” Ellie-May answered.

“Well, if that young jigsaw don’t work you could use that old reciprocating saw.” her grandmother suggested with a wink.

“That’s a good idea, Grandma. I might do that.” Ellie-May replied as she walked to the bathroom to get cleaned up for dinner.

She hadn’t been honest about the reasons for her climb so didn’t tell her how it resembled the picture in the book next to her bed, how she’d always felt peaceful when walking by it, how the smell of rust seemed to come through the snow or about the unexpected pain she’d felt near the top.

She’d think she was a child if she told her all that and she was tired of being treated like a child.

It wasn’t until she washed her hands that she saw the blood. She ran out with her hands up and screaming to her grandmother, “Grandma! Grandma! My hands are bleeding!”

Still at the stove tending to dinner and singing, her Grandmother stopped and without turning to look at her, said softly,

“I told you to get down child because that wasn’t your cross to climb. Every climb bloodies our hands but only one is ours. Find the one that has no temperature, no scent, no memory and no pain. Climb that one. That one is yours to puzzle, to reciprocate and carry home.”