Wall Climbing

Lilla Kassai

I have always loved climbing since I was little. On trees, on rocks, on buildings, on everything, so when I heard that there would be a wall-climbing opportunity in my town, I was thrilled to try it.

When I went to the first training, I was surprised: I expected more people to come, yet there were only nine, not counting count the trainer and myself. And they were mostly guys. There were only four girls: Leticia, Simone, Lucienne, and me, Estelle. They seemed pretty friendly and outgoing. Still, we didn’t talk that much, because they came with their boyfriends, so I ended up a lone wolf. I tried not paying attention to my single-being, but still … looking down while climbing the wall and seeing them hand in hand…. They looked so perfect together, and all I could do was climb and not concentrate on my lonely ass.

Out of nowhere, one of the boys, who had nobody with him, stepped on my hand.

“Ouch!” I yelled.

“If you had been climbing and not gazing at Lucienne and Adrian, I wouldn’t have been able to step on your hand,” groaned the guy, and then he continued to climb.

“And you should have watched out with your leg!” I murmured to myself, but the guy seemed to have radar hearing.

“If you aren’t fast enough, don’t be surprised if you get run over by others,“ he snapped and climbed to the top of the wall as fast as a spider. I didn’t even think he could see anything through his long greasy hair. I tried to climb faster to overtake him, but it seemed impossible.

I wanted to overtake the greasy-haired boy so badly that I wasn’t focusing on where I put my feet. I had almost reached the top when my foot slipped. I had almost fallen from a four-metre height when I felt a gentle but strong squeeze on my hand, the same hand that had been stepped on. When I restored my balance, I glanced up. I gasped: I looked into the eyes of the greasy dark-haired guy who had stepped on my hand. At this moment I was able to examine his face briefly:  he had fair skin and bluer eyes than the Caspian Sea. His glance was so penetrating that I felt him seeing into my soul. Even though I felt frustrated and embarrassed, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. When I realised I was gazing at him as if I were salivating on my Johnny Depp posters, I looked immediately away.

“You’re welcome, snail-girl,” he grinned. I knew it wasn’t ethical, but calling me a snail-girl hurt a bit, so I didn’t thank him for saving me from falling. We didn’t speak until the end of the training.

“I can’t remember hearing you saying thank you….” he murmured to me as I came out of the locker room. He scared me a bit, since I wasn’t expecting him to confront me. I looked in the direction where I thought the voice was coming from, and I saw Mr. Greasy standing at the door of the guys’ locker room, adjusting his spectacles on his nose, which I found somehow fascinating.

“You insulted me, Greasyhead.” I snapped.

“And saved you from a couple of broken bones … Snail-girl…” he giggled, and I quickly got annoyed. Unfortunately, I could only gasp, because nothing came to my mind that I could use to fight back.

“Greasyhead … I like that one … By the way, you should close your mouth, before a bug flies in,” he continued. Continued to troll with me.

“By the way, if you hadn’t run away that quickly, you would probably have heard about next Friday….” He insisted on having a conversation. Well, let’s give him a chance.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, but my tone sounded a bit threatening. Luckily, he didn’t seem to get scared.

“Introduction event within the club. Just a little get-together. Do you fancy coming?”

Waaaaiit a minute … Did he just ask me out? Did he?

“Uhm … yeah I guess…” I responded with a frozen brain.

“Good,” he said, and before I could even blink, he held my right hand, which he had stepped on, and kissed it.

I froze. Why did he do that? I could not even ask him, because the next moment, he turned his back and went away, dissolving in a crowd. 

The next time I saw him at the next training, I didn’t recognise him at first. His hair was tied back in a bun, so I could see his face completely. It was beautiful: pale skin, bright blue eyes, and thin lips surrounded by a little mustache and beard. He also wore a sleeveless t-shirt, so I was able to see his artistically toned muscles. I gasped.

“Hello, Snail-girl!” he greeted me with a huge grin.

“Who are you?” My brain froze while I gazed at the handsome guy. He was familiar, but still….

“My name is Marcial Delacour. I stepped on your hand last time. You might know me as Greasyhead.” He gave me a naughty smile, which made my internal organs melt.

“Eee … Estelle Gardieu….” I offered him my right hand for shaking, but he kissed it instead. Oh my god, this boy is just, wow….

Throughout the training, I tried to avoid him, but he was staring at me all along. Climbing was harder than ever, because I could feel his eyes gazing at me. I couldn’t concentrate properly. I slipped again, and there was no one to catch my hands. I fell from  the wall. I prepared myself for the pain, but instead, I fell on something soft. I rolled over and I went pale as hell. I fell on Marcial.

“Hey!.. Greasyhead … Are you okay?” I panicked.  What if he was injured?

Luckily, he was able to sit up, and threw a grin on me.

“I didn’t know you wanted to use me as a landing place…” he groaned “but fine, then.…”

“No, not at all.  But … thank you for being a landing place for me.” I laughed nervously, while seeing him stand up as if I hadn’t fallen on him a minute earlier. To my surprise he stood up before me, and offered me his hand to help me rise.

“Thank you…” I was shocked.

We didn’t talk much until the end of the training, when I came out from the locker room, where he was waiting for me.

“What are you doing here? Are you waiting for someone?” I asked him, blushing.

“I was waiting for the Snail-girl, so perhaps I can accompany you home,” he responded with a charming smile. I felt butterflies in my stomach. 

“Ohhh….” I froze when I looked into his eyes through his glasses. It is said that the eyes are a mirror to one’s soul. This moment I was able to throw a glimpse right into Marcial’s soul. I saw a generally happy and joyful guy, who seemed to be very hurt on the inside. Probably a heartbreak.

“Well … I have nothing against it…” I stuttered, but inside, I was flying with happiness.

We walked home together, but not for the last time. After every training, Marcial accompanied me home. Then he started to pick me up after finishing school. My story with him happened twelve years ago and now, on this day, I am proud to call myself Madame Estelle Delacour.