I turn my back on the malign and the ignorant.
With breath shallow and laboured,
Forehead beaded with moisture,
My will at war with every muscle, nerve and sinew,
I try to ignore the pain.
But I am thwarted by a body heavy and resistant,
By fingers and hands quivering and weak,
And by arms leaden as if shackled and bound,
But which peak have I climbed, which ocean have I crossed?
Which desert, which continent, which marathon?
Face expressionless, I turn to confront the wall of silent impatience.
Surveying each face, I wonder...
What extraordinary thing have you done today?
What almost impossible feat of endurance and strength?
The cashier puts coins in my hand. An encouraging smile.
Returning the smile, I take a deep breath,
While mentally devising the strategies and plans necessary for the next battle.
Now I have to walk to the door.