Nathan lead us up one of Kabul’s mountains a few days ago, the morning that Ghen left. Some people had been shot at on this climb a few years ago, and dog attacks were not uncommon, but Nathan was if not nonchalant, then he was at least fairly nonchalant. We started at 6.00am, and Nathan assured us it was about 25 minutes up and another 25 down. ‘Back by 7.00am, easy.’
It was hard. A really, hard, long, I-need-another-break hard. Nathan was encouraging. Almost pathologically so. ‘Just a bit further. Trust me. It’s just up this next bit. It is worth it.’ He kept saying this. We kept saying, ‘Where? when? Can I have another break?’. Nathan would repeat his mantra, and after a while I realised, and said to Ghen, ‘Pay no attention. It’s a different track, same record.’
Nathan skipped up like a goat, while Ghen and I laboured like lifetime smokers, like old men.
But, he got us there. And no dogs, shootings or misadventure at all.
Thankyou Nathan. It was worth it.
At the top. It was a long way up, insanely hard to climb. Almost Sisyphusian in difficultly.
Something else at the top of the mountain. As I arranged these shells, I wondered who had fired them. At who? Why? Did he even know what he was fighting for?
Afghanistan is soaked in grief.