Life has been crazy, y’all. I know this is super late, but here it is.
Obstinate: Adjective: 1: Perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course 2: Not easily overcome or removed
The dried leaves crackle and twigs snap beneath my Converse Chuck Taylors as I desperately try to keep up. Blisters and swollen ankles are in my near future. I should have listened when Betty told me I needed to wear different shoes, but she’s normally so clueless about everything. How was I supposed to know that hiking was something she does regularly? Besides, she made the suggestion with a cruel little smirk, so I thought she was just messing with me.
Better yet, I never should have come.
What did I do to deserve her being assigned as my roommate for my first year of college?
Her strawberry blonde ponytail swings from side-to-side as she follows her date closely. My own date is being courteous enough to walk with me, but I can tell he really doesn’t want to be walking as slow as we are.
“Maybe we should stop for a few minutes. Get some water into you,” Stone says.
“No…” Huff. “That’s okay…” Huff. “Don’t want to…” Huff. “Slow everyone down.”
What was I thinking when I agreed to this hike? I’m nowhere near in shape enough to do this.
“We’re going to stop for a few minutes!” Stone shouts ahead. “We’ll catch up!”
“Okay. See you at the top!” Betty shouts back in her southern drawl. She gives me an I-told-you-so look before turning away and pursuing her date onward.
“Here. Sit here.” Stone takes my clammy hand in his and tries to bring me over to a boulder.
“No. Really, I’m okay. Let’s keep going,” I respond. My breaths are coming easier now that we’ve stopped for a moment, but then I’m suddenly overcome with lightheadedness and sway.
Catching me before I fall, Stone says, “There’s no need to be obstinate about it. No shame in taking a little break.”
He helps me sit down, pulls my water bottle from my backpack, and hands it to me as he joins me. Telling myself I will only take a sip, I tip my head back to drink a little. The refreshing coolness sliding down my throat throws that out the window, bringing me to greedily chug at it.
“Take your time,” he laughs. “You don’t want to get sick.”
Embarrassed, I stop and close the lid. “Look. I’m really sorry about this. I’m sure being stuck with a slow-poke isn’t exactly what you imagined when you agreed to this blind-date. Hiking isn’t my normal thing and I should have known better than to agree to it.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s alright. Besides, sometimes I get so caught up in getting to the top, I forget to enjoy the journey up there. Your pace has helped me remember to take in the scenery instead of rush to the end.”
Is there a double-meaning there?
“Well, I wish I could enjoy the journey with you.” I glance up the trail. “How much further do we have?”
“Oh. It’s right around the bend up there.”
“What? Why did we stop, then? I could have made it a little farther before stopping.”
“I wanted to have a chance to get to know you better and figured this was the best way to separate from them. I don’t want to reach the end of this journey quite yet.” He winks at me.
Yup. Definitely a double-meaning.
“Well, I don’t mind sharing the scenery with you for a little while longer.”
Maybe it wasn’t so bad that I came after all.