They say, after breaking a bone, that you will become a human barometer. That every time the weather changes, or the rains are coming, your bones will ache, or tingle or give off some indication of the change in the air around you. I have felt none of those, I have not felt my broken wrist tingle since it healed.
Well that was until the exact moment I realised I would have to walk down the stairs leading to Kloof corner. In the dark. For the first time since I fell.
We started the hike by the cable car, possibly one of the hardest routes I have taken up to the contour path. Second to Platterklip only because the stairs are more even, less high. It was the first time in a long time that we did something so steep and I took it 5 steps at a time. 3/4 of the way up I had a moment, scared that I would need to come down the way we just came up and was reassured that we won’t be going down the same way.
The reassurance was just enough to dry the tears and get me moving again, until we got to the path and I realised we were going to turn right, towards Kloof Corner. I sat down, the phantom pain in my wrist filling my head with fear and bad memories. My legs did not want to go where they knew they were heading. The Little Prince came and gave me a big hug and said “Come mamma, I believe in you” and I knew my choices were to go down the way we came or to go on. The former scared me more.
We took the path to the look out point and waited for the sunlight to dissolve. We had a beautiful little picnic looking out at the neon red clouds. With proper darkness the light cannot play tricks and the torch-light clearly marks your next step. I wanted to get it over with and not do it at all, I even considered using the power cables to zipline down to the bottom as a better alternative.
I started the descent extremely cautiously, the first few steps are not easy. It’s not where I fell but it could easily be where you fall. Slowly slowly, measuring my every stride until we got to the place where I remembered falling. Every step down that I took was “that” step. Gingerly. I took my time. The Husband patiently waiting, having become The Little Prince’s pony ride down (Oh how I wished I could have been on someone else’s shoulders too). I appreciated being able to not rush.
Step after step, the memory of the fall trying to fill my eyes with tears. As physically taxing as going up was, the psychological and emotional effort equaled it on the way down. One foot after the other wishing the steps to end until it happened.
This time, however, I turned, bent my knees slightly and just steadied myself with my hand.
The thing I feared most about this walk had happened and I was fine. I AM FINE! The adrenaline rushing through me, followed closely by endorphins that were suppressed by fear, I was ready to run the rest of the way. Obviously I didn’t. I kept my pace steady, planning this post in my head (well, I had been writing it mentally since I looked down at the route home) and thinking back to that evening.
I was ready to be done, to finish the walk. I had to keep reminding myself that I did this part with a broken wrist, the pain slowly intensifying, resting my arm on my tummy trying to cushion the impact of stepping down the rocky stairs. Getting to Table Mountain road was a great relief and still as we walked to the car, the tears continued to threaten.
They say to conquer a fear you need to face it. I wasn’t planning on facing it last night but that was probably for the best.