It’s so cold. I’m scared and I’m lonely and I want to give up but I can’t. I’ve been tasked with bringing these 2 kids along, and if I lie down one night and let the cold take me away from the pain, the kids will be taken away by another sherpa, less experienced, and maybe won’t care if they get frostbite or blisters. The shadows grow longer, and my panic rises. The mountain is so tall I can’t even see the top, and relief isn’t at the summit. There is no sunny side or victor’s banner. My task is to trudge through these mountains with them until they can make it on their own. My sherpa, who loved and cared for me, is gone. I’m so confused, I don’t know which way to go. With him, we were safe. It was never easy, but I knew we were safe. Now I struggle to imagine what he’d say about which path to take, which ropes to use. But all I hear is my imagination in the wind. The mountain stares at me with no help.