Come all you angels, let’s eat everything bagels, Blake said. Seriously,
When one is hungry, one eats, Ian said. But when one is eating, is one
hungry? The hunger is all that is the case.
And when the head is fed, the case is closed.
He’s a megalomaniac, megalomaniac on the floor. And he’s dancing
like he’s never danced before.
Kieran laughed, though the joke was stupid. Wait. Where was he
again? Annie. No, no, something else. Oh, yes, Kieran and the rock.
When he had once believed in Kieran and the rock, being on the rock
itself, part of what he understood himself to mean was that he disappeared into the rock, became the rock. Or if he were to engage with Ian
on such a subject, which they often did early on: becoming the climb,
becoming the fly. Kieran understood this idea of becoming the climb,
though he preferred to think of it as becoming the rock, but that was
only a little difference and not one worth arguing over because it seemed
as though they were meaning the same thing: that they lost themselves
out there. Which was a terribly powerful and addicting paradox. That a
thing which took so much discipline, control, focus, to mention nothing
of skill, strength (not only arm and leg strength but finger strength—
even more, digit strength, power in the tip of a finger), stamina and an
almost ballerina-like agility along with a clean mind to see the moves—
that this physical act also contrived to rid one of oneself. Not anymore.
Not again, either. That was very clear. Not again. What he thought of on
the climb now or on a hop steepening along the side of a mountain wall,
steepening until letting go and flying was: I’m climbing this wall again
why? I’m trying to fly again why? I’m going down this river again why?
Then there would come the thought of the photos being taken above or
below him or of the video camera Blake always had to hold and now the
helmet cam, helmet cam, helmet cam. Everything recorded, digitized,
made for others, and when they went out as groups, what people said
were things like: What kind of lens do you have on that thing? You make
Blake look like a better skier, sicko. Kieran doesn’t take the pics because
he’s the star, right? And Kieran could never, even after however many
beers, say that he didn’t take pictures because he despised the recording of these climbs or flys or downrivers or whitewaters; he couldn’t say
he didn’t take a picture because so much of him was being recorded.