Ray turned to Philip as they sat atop the fleshy, sensitive summit. “We made it,” he said to Phil. “We made the climb that nobody thought we could.”
Philip scratched his chin. “Lost a lot of men, though,” he said. “A lot of good men.”
“When Freddy slipped into the navel, I just …”
“Hey,” Philip said, his hand on Ray’s shoulder. “There was nothing you could have done. OK? There was nothing. You saw how smooth the skin was there. It could have happened to any of us.”
“You’re right.” He exhaled heavily. “It’s beautiful up here, though. You can see the other peak so clearly.”
“Maybe we’ll climb that one some day, too.” The men smiled at each other. “So,” Philip said, “what do you want to do?”
“What we came here to do,” Ray said. “I’m gonna pinch it.”
The clouds broke then, and at that moment, it felt like the sun was shining just for him.