Lisa began to question the wisdom of this trip. Hiking twenty-five miles on the Appalachian Trail during a heat wave is proving to be a bad idea. She wipes her brow for the third time this hour as she looks up the tall hill in front of her. Placing her backpack down made it easier to remove the sweat soaked t-shirt leaving her tank top for protection and privacy. “I’ll drink the last sip of water then I’ll go up. Gah, was I supposed to pack a gallon of water too?” she whispers to herself as she takes another picture of the woods surrounding her and the hill she has to climb. Tucking loose curls under the hat Jen, a member of their group, handed her before they left the parking lot. And rearranging her empty water bottle, camera, three power bars, makeup, hair brush, and sweat soaked clothing in her bag brings her to the realization that she hasn’t a clue when it comes to hiking. Twenty miles to go.

“It’s so hot, and my outfit is getting wrecked,” Lisa whines for the hundredth time to no one because birds and trees are the only things around her. “Why am I trying to impress David anyway?” She reminds herself, “because he said that if I can hike twenty-five miles, he’ll know that I have what it takes to join his group … and I want to be his girlfriend.” She looks up at David and the other hikers already on their ascent. They are dressed in hiking gear and wearing appropriate footwear. “This heat is the worst. I hope there’s water at the top,” she whispers to no one because she is entirely alone on this side of the path. She amuses herself, “Girl found dead on the A. T. because she was trying to impress a guy who loves hiking. Said girl is wearing the prettiest running gear but died from the heat and terrain. Thank goodness I didn’t wear my pink glittery flip flops my pedicure would be ruined by now.”

Stepping onto the rocky path to start her ascent wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. She hobbles ten feet before losing her footing and falls hands and knees first to the ground with a clunk! “Son of a … ouch!” Groaning she picks herself off the ground and rubs the dirt and stones off her knees and legs. Her hands have rocks and dirt embedded in her palms. “Walk the Appalachian Trail they say. The A.T. will bring you closer to nature they say. Why didn’t they say how hard it would be to do this? Craptastic! I need to get off this trail when I reach the next town forget the meet-up with David and the other hikers.” She moans while picking the stones from her palms.

At the top of the hill, Jen hands David a bottle of water and watches as he pours it over his head. She can’t keep her eyes off him. His calm blue eyes are a beautiful contrast to his tanned skin and dark wet hair. Jen’s a regular in the group. This weekend he invited his friend Ed to keep her occupied so that he may spend more time with Lisa. David and Lisa met at the gym. He noticed her the first day she started and changed his schedule to be there on her workout days. She’s a girly girl who’s pretty without makeup. Spending time with her keeps Jen away. Except for today. Every time he tries to help Lisa she pushes him away. Independence. When he challenged her to come along she accepted without blinking an eye. She’s not the same as his other women, and that’s hot.

Wiping dirt off her red face, Lisa continues her hobble up the hill. Her pink and gray New Balance running shoes she purchased two days ago are holding the ground. Another hiker is standing at the top of the hill when Lisa arrives. She straightens as much as she can and walks slower and controlled. The hiker looks at her pink and dirty running shoes and chuckles as he continues past her on his way down the trail. “Jerk,” she mumbles.

David and the other hikers are resting on a group of rocks watching Lisa limp over to them. “Are you going to make it?” Asked David.

“I’m okay; I just need to rest a minute.” With a forced smile, she shuffles over and sits next to him.

David hands her a bottle of water from his backpack and gently rubs her back, “I’ll take you home now, I don’t want you to over-do-it on your first day.” He kisses her carefully on her hat avoiding her sunburned face, “We’ll go over the proper gear and sunscreen for our next hike. Why did you tell me that you hiked before?”

“Okay, I’m alright with that, “shaking her head while avoiding the question, “come on,” relieved, she pushes off the rock and reaches for David’s hand. “Let’s go.”

What are your thoughts about Lisa and David?

What would you do if you were Lisa or David?

Lisa is a character from my book of stories – The Edge – The stories follow the lives of three friends navigating work, love, and sisterhood. Read it here or on wattpad. Lisa is a twenty-something-year-old who loves fashion, wears her heart on her sleeve, has a problem with authority, and never backs down from a challenge. She believes that everyone deserves a happily ever after.