We were circled around in the living room eating pizza and catching up on stories from the Oyster & Champagne Festival. It was then I turned over to him and started tearing. I was emotional…?
It was just last week, nine of us met up at the crack of dawn to hike Lion’s Head. This Cape Town Mountain, known for resembling a crouching lion or sphinx, frames the most spectacular views of the city as you trek the one-hour hike. This would be like any other leisure stroll, in my opinion, with a little sweat if I’m not mistaken.
Well, I was – very mistaken.
There were instances we hiked vertically and other times we were against a narrow yet steep path. “Don’t look down” we squealed. It was a full workout with Instagram-worthy pictures. Laughs were shared and races were challenged to the next mark. When we finally got to the top, I foolishly presumed our hard work had concluded.
A sprained ankle may be in my future with the sneaks I had on, not to mention blurred vision from my watery eyes and a running nose. Statistics make it better: 75% of hiking accidents happen on the way down. Given all this and how wonderfully clumsy I am, I’m bound to cause a painful scene this windy day.
Folks were dashing down and I, obviously, was not. I was nervous and so were my knees. I may be on my own.
Just as I started down by myself, I ran into Andy and Ali who were the last to come up. He was hiking at her pace and he would accompany her on the return. They were new friends and seemed sweet to each other. Who would want to interrupt that?
It’s moments like this that one can feel like a burden to others. Self-preservation and independence is a natural trait of being single. When you don’t have that, it’s uncomfortable. You don’t want to feel helpless and you certainly never want to be a third wheel.
But alas, our three-person climb down commenced.
Andy was patient enough to help my every step by hand while tending to Ali. My progress was his progress. I never once felt rushed nor did I feel I was interfering his time with her. Ali was sympathetic and inclusive. She was there for me as much as she was for him. We were her climb down team.
We ended the hike and my quick thank you seemed enough at the time. It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized how much the experience mattered to me. That’s when the tears made sense.
Andy was perplexed. Ali wanted to hug.
Hiking can prove to be an eye-opening experience. Who is there on their own? Who is there for the greater good? Who is scared? Who can you trust? Who is kind?
When you struggle, it’s eye opening to see who will be there for you when you ask.
This is when bonds are made.
It’s hard to ask for help sometimes. It can feel like a strike against being single. It’s like a big spotlight is on you to remind everyone that you don’t have a partner to help you.
Dependence can blossom into a wonderful thing if you let it happen. This is the root of relationships. It doesn’t have to be the antithesis of singledom.
I reassured Andy, these were tears of joy and connection.
I hope to run into more Andy’s and Ali’s in my lifetime.
‘Til Next, Elisa
Ps. Random hugs from Ali are the best.