Do you know about grapefruit?
Do you know what it’s like to press your thumb into its tender skin, to peel back its flesh as the juice runs into the creases of your wrist? Do you know about its maroon muscles, how they pull away from each other to form the most perfect two-bite sections?
We stand at the base of Levitation 29. Our shirts are strung up on a yucca, soaked entirely with sweat. A calm breeze cools the skin of my lower back and moves our tank tops. The sun shines with desert strength.
I look up at the route.
A beautiful line of weakness that cuts through the sandstone’s coppery face like an artery. I feel my mind unlocking from the illusion that rock is still and unmoving, and the entire formation starts to sway. The line starts to pulse and pull upwards. The crux is a gently moving whirlpool that contracts and expands.
I try to think of a route more perfect looking, and at the moment nothing comes to mind.
We’re already high up in the narrow canyon. Its opposing wall seems closer than I’m sure it is. From here, the wash looks like a small vein that runs through the canyon’s feet.
The most sought after feeling douses my brain—I want to be nowhere else but where I am right now.
My heart quiets after pumping bright blood for me to hike with for the past hour and a half. I sip in the desert air through my nose, I fill my lungs to their brim and empty them slowly. I take a bite of the grapefruit.
Oh my God. Its juice is so sweet I could cry. My molars release its nectar and it pools on my tongue. Oh. My. God. How? How does something this wonderful exist! How is it so sweet? How is it in my hand right now? How can it possibly taste this perfect! How? God. It is too good to be true. All of this is. How did I get to be right here, right now?
I look at Natalie, she is smiling with all her teeth.
This is amazing,
she says. The hairs on my arm stand up like the spines of a cactus. I just can’t believe it all. It’s all just too good.
I wonder about this feeling.
I wonder, because nothing has happened that should cause me this ecstasy. I didn’t win the lottery, I didn’t receive any good news, find a place to live, or run into Peter Croft. In fact, I’m pretty broke, things are confusing, I missed Peter Croft by just an hour, and I’ve still gotta do my taxes.
Nope. It doesn’t work like that. If I could write one thing, it would be something about how important it is that you’re happy. That’s what will save this world. It’s not selfish, God, can we please all get over that? Please fight every day to be happy. I don’t mean happy like smiling wide and jumping around with joy—I’m talking about the ability to enjoy yourself if even for a minute a day, and to know about the fleeting nature of this one wild life. They’ll tell you that stuff like noise canceling headphones and having a perfect husband and not having wrinkles is what matters.
Don’t fucking buy it.
All of those external things are so incredibly meaningless compared to the love that is everywhere and exists the very second you open your eyes to it, compared to what’s in the deepest part of your maroon heart, compared to grapefruit.