Kanchenjunga’s Hopes

Every summer solstice, we trailed Father as he sought Lord Shiva’s home. The quest for the mythical place was his, yet he required us to be servants of a kind, carrying his gear and his hopes. We never bested the raging winds of a crevasse which looked like a frown from afar. In our teens we complained that we no longer wanted to climb Kanchenjunga. We much preferred to sing, dance, and drink beers.

We moved away, found love and heartbreak, and joked about Crazy Father. After returning home one summer, Father answered the door in furs, the only visible area his nose and round cheeks. He handed us picks and said there was little time left.

Climbing the mountain in silence, we trudged through chill winds. The frowning crevasse had been replaced by a flat bed of earthen snow. Father broke out into a run, a wild bear on a chase. When he reached the summit, we all looked out, clouds drenching our bodies. We looked above to an infinite abode of stars. Father fell on his knees and put his arms to the sky, letting out a roar. We did the same.

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