He wiped his brow and frowned. This was going to be a long climb. His muscles had started to ache. This was more due to inaction than actual strain. Working whole days and some nights punching on a keyboard wiped his body by the end of his week. The weekends, when not working, were filled with mental fatigue and angry snappy remarks at good natured advice to slow things down. He looked up and calculated the number of paces he would need to take to reach his destination.
As was the norm whenever he felt any physical stress, he swore to start gymming. He needed to get in shape. He was the fittest of all the software engineers working on his side of the block, but that wasn’t really saying much. He was sweating profusely now. There are some climbs that one must undertake alone, he thought. Some battles that need to be fought alone, no matter what. Ever since the breakup, he constantly found himself subjecting his body to all kinds of punishment. He knew it was not his fault, but there was some culpability. He knew she did not love him, but he was still trying to get over her. The pain of loving someone with full confidence at no returns is unbearable and indescribable, and he needed physical, dull pain to counter it.
He was not a person given to suicidal thoughts, and this was no different situation. In fact, despite his situation, he knew he had a certain joi de vivre which prevented him from completely drowning in morose thoughts. His self-imposed tasks simply required more stamina, but his body simply refused almost as though his frequent pants and poohs were his body’s way of saying, “Are you kidding me!”
His legs were starting to burn now. Maybe she never loved him; maybe it was all an illusion to her. She probably thought she loved him a lot, but once the initial attraction faded, she simply saw the light. Too bad for him though, he knew where he stood during the whole time: he wanted to make a life with her, a life that would not happen now. Somehow, even though his disappointment was too much, he managed to understand that it was for the best. One can never forget one’s first love: that adage would be tested in time. For all he knew, she was having some trouble getting over him too.
He was so naïve, when he actually heard the four ugliest words in the Engligh language, “I wanna break up.” He contrasted them with the three ugliest words he had once heard, “I am pregnant.” It had turned out to be a false alarm, but his heart had skipped several successive beats. He remembered the stoic expression she had had on her face as she said it; as if probing him to see his most instinctive reaction to the news. In any case, she had gotten her period the next day, and both of them heaved a sigh of relief and doubled their protective measures.
He had to sit down now. This level of exertion was just not correct for a person of his poor fitness. He breathed heavily, with his heart pounding, and just collapsed on the ground. He swore, the next time the power went out, he would wait for it to return, instead of foolishly attempting to climb up to the 23rd floor.