The Mountain of Pink was the best thing this quaint little town of Pinkville had. The whole population consisted of Mr Pink, the founder and Mrs. Pink his wife, for whom this mountain was named. He adored her and she him, as both were childless and the white snowy peak was all they had for them. After a long journey when they saw the giant mountain blocking whatever was behind it –both young and ambitious– the Pink’s stopped their journey, built a hut and decided that one day this mountain would be travelled on by them.
Try they did, Mr Pink a lot more, as he was the man of the house, while his wife stayed at home. She was a charming young lady and had a lot of spark in her; however the mountain looked huge and scary. Mrs Pink tried to accompany her husband but he knew that she would be comfortable in the hut. So together they started but after a while she was asked to return home and wait for her dear husband’s arrival.
She waited home as he went on, the separation was long and both bore their share of misfortune. While climbing the mountain, Mr. Pink fell a lot and his hands and body changed with the climate: they became veiny and his body was covered by scars, yet he braved it all and continued on. Mrs. Pink also was getting tired of the journey that separated them both. She wanted nothing but for him to come home. She also wished desperately for a child, someone to call her own. Her body yearned to carry a small life in her hands and tell it the tales of her life, about her husband’s and her’s journey and of course the mountain: the giant obstacle separating her from her husband and for them to be together.
Soon, as if by magic, her wishes were answered. Mrs Pink, like every night, was finishing up her evening’s chores that suddenly her door was knocked. Bang bang bang. Her heart rate quickened, could it be?, she thought. Before running out, Mrs Pink glanced quickly at her reflection in the mirror: her companion during the long lonely period of separation. In the first few years after their arrival at the town, the oblong reflector was occupied with items she would use to decorate her face and hair. Then slowly after her husband’s departure, her time was spent juggling between cleaning up the house to cooking. As she took care of other things around her and spent time repairing and shining them, her attention from her self drifted. Often times after her house work she used to watch the mountain, which during the cold long winters was covered with fog that further enhanced its mystery.
She had heard somewhere that it was the weather inside that determined one’s outlook. The Pinkville was as always quiet, peaceful with the skies always blue and the moon smiling out of the window every night. However, the mirror now, after going through the wear and tear of time stood barren of any items. As for Mrs Pink, the eight years had rubbed off on her, her face still kind, her eyes still had that warm glow but the years had also left its traces. She now had laugh lines along her eyes, small ones in the middle of her forehead for when she would count the days. The eyes which now had a slight film of tears at the idea of her husband’s return also had bags underneath them, a reminder of the sleepless nights.
Bang, bang, bang the urgent knock on the door happened again. She opened the door and standing before her was a young girl in tattered clothes holding a bag. Her hair were cut short and due to her small stature she appeared to be a boy at first glance. Whereas, her face was crusted with soot and the eyes had the look of a scared, abandoned puppy. “Who are you?” asked Mrs Pink with a hint of anger as the joy of her husband’s return passed. “I am Magenta, sorry to bother you, I’ve come from far, would it be alright if I stayed the night?.” “Of course you can dear,” replied Mrs Pink, such was her nature, she couldn’t say no to a person in need. ”Come on in. Oh dear! What happened to your clothes?”
Both ladies sat in front of the open window with a clear view of the mountain with the moon illuminating the silent night. Magenta now had a clean set of clothes to wear and replied to Mrs. Pink’s query while she sipped on the hot beverage.
“The war destroyed my home. I was forced to leave my mother as she dyin… but it’s okay.” She wiped her tears, “I want to go beyond this mountain. Did you know there are strange plants and fascinating rocks that glow in the dark?.”
“You sure do know a lot about the world.”
“I have read a lot. My books showed me a happy side of the world, one where I would want to be. I am certain that once I tamed that mountain there would be no more pain or suffering.”
“Then we’ll both wait for the day when, the one gone have returned and there would be no more pain.”
After the two met that fateful day, Magenta and Mrs Pink developed the relationship of mother and daughter, one that they both yearned for. The mirror that was once empty held a picture of Mr. Pink and the house was decorated with books Magenta brought with her. Upon being inquired by Mrs Pink about the other stuff she had left behind. “This was all I could salvage” was Magenta’s reply. Together, they shared the next two years until one evening Mr. Pink returned.
As Magenta sat on the wooden bench situated outside the front door reading a book –some of which had become occupants at the house–, she suddenly was brought out of her reverie by the sound of foot steps. The man who stood before her was very different to the one she was introduced to, through pictures. “Mr Pink!” she ran inside and brought back with her Mrs Pink whose graying hairs matched the man. Both, the man and the woman took in each other’s presence silently until a giddy Magenta interrupted.
“Nice meeting you, my self Magenta, her daughter.”
Upon seeing the shock on her husband’s face she quickly shook her head.
“It’s not what you think. Oh dear! she is my daughter but I took her in.”
“Of course I believed you. I felt just a bit tired from the travel,” he said.
A lot of time has passed. I have missed out on lot, he thought.
Even though nothing was wrong apparently, however, she never found a trace of victory or triumph on his tired face. The smile now also brought about a hint of sadness that puzzled her.
“So tell us about your adventures,” Mrs Pink pried out of him one evening after he had the chance to shed the exhaustion of travel. Magenta also sat upright, eager to hear about the mountain, the thought of climbing which had kept her awake many nights. She too, like Mr. Pink, had became excited to uncover the mysteries of the mountain and find out what lay behind it. She listened attentively and her expressions changed from happy to concerned and later sad as she heard of all the hard work Mr Pink had to do. His hands that worked like a machine to carve out a way. His smile became less frequent as he too remembered home and wanted to return.
“The mountain was not what I had thought. I worked many a days and night to discover the ways of the mountain. It was my wish to succeed in reaching the top but…,” he shifted in his chair as his voice cracked, “I failed Pink, I couldn’t reach the peak of this beast of a mountain. After spending all these years and now I am back. The peak still remains undiscovered, the beauty behind it yet to be seen”.
The room was completely quiet except for the silent sobs of the man and sharp intake of breaths by the women. Both had faced the bitter truth today, the mountain with all its glory and promise of new worlds behind it still was a monster. “YOU BROKE OUR FAMILY!” she said. “I waited for you. What did I get out of this? You chased a ghost and left behind a home.” Mrs Pink sobbed bitterly and like tree plucked from it’s roots sat, almost fell forward on the ground. Mr Pink once a cheerful, happy man who always had a reason for making her wife smile actually now had lost that ability too. He got up from his chair, wiped his tears and whispered, “sorry,” as she kept on crying and he walked away.
The house near the mountain reeked with the air of tragedy however there was one individual who wasn’t affected: It was Magenta. After the fight between the couple, the following night in Magenta’s heart a dream was born, or rather flourished, as the seed was always there; she wanted to go to the mountain. Of course Mrs Pink was right! it was all his fault, she’d think. How could she forget the foreign smell of Mr Pink’s clothes? The air around him hinted at the things he’d seen or the stars that he might have counted while laying in the mountain.
All these days when no one had the time or was in the right state of mind to look after Magenta whereas she too, had been in her own world. New dreams were being created in her head as she stayed in bed awake all night. So much was her thirst for exploration that she felt no need for checking up on Mrs Pink, the lady who took care of her like her own mother. She had heard of the mountain even when she was young however, that night leaving it all behind as she knocked on the door of the Pink’s, the mountain stood there with all its promises became the reason for her stay. She wanted the thrill of discovering the new enchanting world behind the mountain.
Snow laid thick as the darkness of night had enveloped the silent town of Pinkville when suddenly the sky lit up with thunder. Magenta was unable to sleep so she picked up the candle –whose flames were making patterns on the wall– from her bedside table and walked outside of her room. The mountain looked scary in the stormy night as the thunder that would often light up the sky made it look alive, menacing. At first the mountain seems alone to tower over the house but looking closely one could make out the silhouette of a man standing in front of it and a girl peeking through the door. In the dark, the mountain took in the smaller being who stood before it. The man’s lip moved and the girl leaned in closer to listen.
The couple sat in their room facing each other. Mrs Pink dabbed at her eyes and asked him “why did you let her go? She wouldn’t survive in the outside world.” Mr Pink held her consolingly “she needs to find her own world.” They both sat quietly as the mountain shined brightly in the sunshine through the window of their room.