Monday, 28 June 2021

'Taste the High Life' by Jennifer Lai

The weight of a thousand bricks presses against my chest as my lungs clamor for oxygen in the cool, thin air. Days-old deodorant reeks from my pits and forms hardened dark spots on my moisture-wicking shirt. A tattered white helmet smothers my oily obsidian hair loosely jumbled in a low bun by a stretched-out pink scrunchie. My feet, blistered and pruney, plod through calf-high patches of snowy earth in an enervated motion—stomp, stomp, break, stomp, stomp, break—the tempo of which reminds me of stoned karaoke singalongs in abandoned parking lots getting so baked the asphalt sparkled with diamonds. Snow-capped fortresses rise like apparitions towards the angel cake clouds. I am a peppercorn in a pile of salt, a period on a blank sheet of paper. At the summit, sunlight drops toward the horizon. Its backscatter crayons the mountains with swaths of terracotta and mango. The view rouses me like a quad shot latte, and I savor it with a long silence, interrupted only by the whispering wind telling me I am, once again, so very high. 

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