A car pulls in between them and myself – a young couple hops out and pause on the sidewalk to take in the view. He gives my Rav a look. She wears a navy jersey skirt and a fuchsia hoodie. Something I would wear. I forget what he was wearing, except a damn grimace. He says “C’mon” and they take each other's hands and bound for the trailhead. Or maybe they were in a rush to get to the bathrooms. Who knows. I wonder if they will ever get cancer. I start to take in the view, but I turn and notice I parked diagonal in 2 spots, and that I am at least 2 feet from the curb. I can’t even fucking park right.
There is also a trailhead to the left, and an older woman sits on the stairs talking to someone I never do see. They are in the way, like they own the trailhead. So my mom and I sit down on the grass instead, which actually is not too bad – I need some sitting in the grass time. The earth is warm and it’s easier on my non-padded bottom. I take in the view with a deep sigh because I can see the trail loop down below; I can see where it wanders under white blossoming trees. I can see where it touches the river; I can see people sitting along side it. I cannot see, but we can all hear, the waterfall, not far from the trailhead to the right.
I was here just 2 summers ago, very healthy, but decided to not do the hike. The brush was intensely lush and green. I was alone, but not really alone. There was a school bus in the parking lot with 900 summer school kids. They were excited. I did not want to hike with them.
And now my body will not allow me to do this moderate hike. I might be able to get down the stairs at either trailhead, but will I get up them? In less than a half mile I will start to feel insanely sleepy. My lungs are being squished by tumors on my liver, so it will be difficult to breath. I will feel like my heart is pumping pudding, not blood. Too thick, says my heart. I will stop to rest, and begin to feel lightheaded. My legs will feel like lead. But here is the funny part: if I sit down, I will feel near 100% better. I will feel like I can accomplish even longer hikes.
So I sit, I take in the view, I try to be grateful for what I can do. I try not to regret the mistakes I made. Like not going on this hike. And I try to figure out what I can and cannot do before my death deadline.