Vegas Valentine


Alone again on Valentines, she decided to go to the top of Mt. Charleston, where the Vegas Hermit had long ago retreated in order to meditate, ski, and give advice.

When she arrived at the park entrance, she saw a curious mix of single people and couples coming down, some in a rush, others going very slowly. Some happy, others unhappy. She couldn’t quite see a pattern, though, and she thought she had made a mistake in seeking out the Hermit.

Nevertheless, she started the hike. As she went up the mountain she came upon another hiker, a young man who was breathing hard and leaning against a tree.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m seeking advice from the hermit. I’m always alone on Valentine’s day and just in general.”

“Alright, well, good luck!” she answered cheerfully, not wanting to be dragged down by conversation.

Soon she came across a woman who was leaning on a stick.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m alone and going to ask the hermit how to find friends.”

“Great idea! I’m heading there myself. Good luck!”

She continued up the hill where she found a group of men and women.

“Hey there!” she called out to them.

“Hey!” a few responded, while others waved or smiled. “Going to see the hermit?”

“Yep! Gotta sort out my love life!”

“Us too!”

“Good luck!”

She hurried on. Clearly, she had had the right idea, everyone wanted the same thing. Hope entered her mind and heart.

Next, it was a man just in front of her. With effort she caught up to his long strides.

“Hello!” she called out.

“Hey, how’s it going?” he responded.

“Terrific. I’m excited for what the hermit is going to say.”

“Me too. Been trying to meet the right girl, but it’s hard.”

Awkward, she thought, checked her hair, and doubled the pace.

At last she came to a great cave entrance. Just inside the threshold, an old man sat. He was naked. His wrinkled and grey. Gummy skin rested lamely around his joints, and he had a sad little belly.

“Mr. Wise Man, I have come to get your advice. I am getting older and always alone, and today is St. Valentine’s. I’m afraid my life will not work out.”

“Oh you want the wise man. I just found this cave and started enjoying being alone.”

She broke into tears at the bad news. “But I’ve climbed so hard and for so long! I need help!”

“Oh, well then, he is another thousand feet up, at least. You won’t make it unless you hurry.”

She sat down on a rock and rubbed her eyes. However, the naked man took pity on her.

“You know, he always says the same thing to the men and women who come to him, though.”

She perked up. “What is it?”

He says, “go back down and climb up again, but go a little slower, a little kinder, a little humbler, enjoy the hike, and someone will slow down to walk with you, and you will have a partner.”

She rolled her eyes, thinking of all the people she’d passed and left behind.

“That’s ridiculous! They could have just caught up with me! And I’m not a hiker. No, I’m not doing that.”

The naked rubbery man had started his squat reps but slowed to tell her:

“And that is what they always say to him.”

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