Saturday, November 30, 2013

Winter Fun


"She skied right into the tree," one of the little boys standing over me said.
"You think she's dead?" the other little boy asked.
"Don't think so. Her eyelids are wiggly."
As I lay sprawled in the powdery snow, their voices seemed to come from far away, and as my eyes peeped open, the treetops spun beneath the bright sun. A man dressed in a fluorescent orange ski-patrol jacket stepped in font of the boys. "You all right, ma'am?"
I blinked and tried to focus my eyes. "I...I think so. My shoulder..."
"Looked like she was going to hit us," one of the little boys said. "But she ran right into the tree instead."

The ride down the hill on a snowmobile with my rescuer was a blur. Besides feeling humiliated, I ached all over, and I knew I'd totally ruined my weekend of winter fun. At the clinic, X-rays revealed no broken bones—luckily—only a separated shoulder. By mid-afternoon, my left arm in a sling, I sat curled in a big lounge chair in front of a leaping fire in the ski lodge's commons area. Things were quiet. Most people were skiing the slopes, enjoying the sunny winter weather.
I felt alone and a little depressed.
I'd looked forward to the challenge of learning to ski. Occasional skiers, my best friends Kathy and Terri had talked me into spending a weekend at Snowstar with them. We arrived Friday night. They hit the trails first thing this morning while I took lessons on the Bunny Hill before starting out on my own. My avoiding the two little boys and hitting a pine tree was my third time down a hill by myself. So much for winter fun.
I sensed someone had come up beside me. Glancing up, I looked into the brightest blue eyes I'd ever seen. A man with a soft, easy smile and a head of curly brown hair offered me a mug of hot chocolate topped with a glob of marshmallow. "For me?"
He nodded and handed me the steaming mug. "I saw you sitting here alone. I'm the guy who took you down the hill this morning."
"Thanks," I said, smiling. "For the ride and making sure I got to the clinic—and for the hot chocolate."
"All in a day's work." He pointed at my sling.
"Separated shoulder."
"Could've been worse. Painful?"
"Not too bad. I have to ice it when I can and keep it in a sling for a week or so."
While I sipped my chocolate, we chatted. Sam Cooper was his name. I told him mine, Holly Forbes. We discovered we were both twenty-seven, not dating, and we both lived in Harpersville, fifty miles away. He was a PE teacher at the high school. When I told him I was a dental technician, he smiled, his cheeks dimpling, and revealed perfectly white teeth. He said he loved skiing. On busy weekends, he volunteered to work with the ski patrol in the mornings and could ski for free in the afternoons.
Then he said he had to go. He'd promised to meet a few buddies for an afternoon ski. "Will you be around later?" he asked. "Perhaps we could dine together."
My heart suddenly skipped. "That would be nice."
Later in our condo, after I'd iced my shoulder and after Kathy and Terri dragged themselves in from the hills exhausted, I explained my day. They were sad for me—I'd separated my shoulder—and happy for me—I'd met a handsome young man. They said they were staying in tonight. They were exhausted. Their sore muscles screamed for hot showers and soft beds.
Sam and I dined on steak, a baked potato, and a tossed salad—he had to cut my steak for me. All the while, his easy smile warmed my heart, and oh how I wished I could ski with him tomorrow afternoon. You blew it, Holly!
When we finished our meal, Sam wiped his lips with a napkin and said, "I hate to end this evening so soon..."
"I know," I said. "I'm not exactly up for skiing in the moonlight."
"Skiing isn't the only winter fun around here."
"I'm not up for tobogganing, either."
"How about a hayrack ride?"
I blinked.
"The resort hosts one every Saturday night," he said.
"You're kidding?"
He smiled; my pulse spiked. "Supposed to be a giant moon out," he said. "You'll have to dress warm."
"I can do that."
At the condo, after Kathy and Terri helped me dress and I said goodbye to them, I stepped out into the cold, cloudless night. The smile on my face felt as big as the moon. A hayrack ride, a handsome young man who lived in my hometown, a separate shoulder—I couldn't imagine more winter fun than this.

The End

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