“You’re not serious,” I say to my husband, pointing upward. “We’re in no shape to climb that.”
“Sure we are,” he offers. “That couple just did it.”
He nods toward a pair barely out of their teens. They smile at his wayward enthusiasm. The gal looks at me and offers a thumbs up sign. I’m not sure if she is being sarcastic or just hiding pity. I feel a tug on my arm.
“Come on, honey.”
The young man holds up his camera. “If you make it to the top, I’ll take a picture of the two of you as proof.”
“You’re not going to want to stand around that long,” I reply, “though maybe you could wait here long enough to call an ambulance.”
Everyone laughs but me. Now my husband scoops my hand in his calloused palm. It’s my signal to stop arguing. Taking a deep breath, I turn toward his goal.
Looking up again I must admit that the very structure of this so-called tree tower is striking. Cedar shingles appear red-gold in the sunlight. But I would much rather admire it from here. Nonetheless, I take my first upward step.
We reach the first landing without too much gasping and moaning. Soon, though, my knees start to twinge. My man turns to look when I pull my hand free, his pace being just a little too fast for me. I lean against the rail and try to not to wheeze.
“Do you need to stop?”
“Just let me rest a moment.”
It really does rejuvenate me, though my joints soon begin popping upon each stair. Halfway up, he calls a halt. My dear hubby wipes sweat from his forehead and the motion causes his brows to spike in beetled disarray. I’d poke fun if I could catch my breath.
“You were right, Gladys.” He waves to the couple, telling them not to bother waiting. “We’re coming down, anyway.”
“Pose for me there,” the young fellow urges. “I can Photoshop you at the top from my computer.”
To my surprise, we end up exchanging email addresses. The picture turns out fine, if falsified. Our new friends made out better when we buy a state-of-the-art blender for their wedding three weeks later.