After I returned my skis, I headed into the village and decided to both reward my accomplishments and down my sorrowful failures with a cold beer. I sat down at the bar and thanked God that I survived what could have been the end of me.
Just as I was served, an attractive snowboarder sat down next to me and nodded hello. I awkwardly nodded back. Of course, I only assumed she was a snowboarder. She just had that look and demeanor. Our resulting conversation only confirmed my suspicions.
“Vodka and cranberry, please,” she told the bartender. She then turned toward me and must have noticed my dejected posture.
“Huh?,” I asked. I had no idea what in the hell she was talking about.
“Powder. Snow. You look like it was one of those days.”
“First time on the slopes. And last time,” I explained.
“Board or skis?
“Skis. It was a disaster.”
“You’re alive, aren’t you? And you’re not in the hospital. Right?”
“Well, when you put it that way,” I said, with a smile. This chick is cool,” I thought to myself. Why in the hell is she talking to me?”
“Well, now that you’ve popped your ski cherry, maybe you should give snowboarding a shot.”
“I think I’m going to stick to toboggans.”
“You never know unless you try, right?,” she said, as she was served her drink.
“I suppose,” I said in reply.
She held her drink for a toast.
“Cheers,” she succinctly said.
“Cheers,” I replied back, as we clinked our glasses.
She reached out her hand.
“Jimmy,” I said, shaking her hand.
“Where are you from?”
“Wow. I love Detroit.”
“You’ve been there?,” I asked, having my doubts.
“Yeah. I’ve got a friend from there. Been to a few concerts there.”
“Are you Canadian?,” I asked, detecting a slight accent.
“Toronto. Are you here alone?,” she strangely asked. I assumed it was more out of fear that I was some sort of freak loner, than it was a come on. Then again, she was the one who started the conversation, so I was really confused, which was par for the course whenever a stranger from the opposite sex willingly started a conversation with me.
Just then, Adriana’s voice rang out.
“There you are!”
Adriana and Melody had returned, somehow finding me.
“Hey, guys. How did you know I was in here?,” I asked.
“We looked for you at the bunny hill,” Melody explained. “When we didn’t you there, we had a feeling you were either here…”
“Or the hospital,” Adriana said in all seriousness.
Meanwhile, the snowboarder moved over to give Adriana and Melody space, seemingly disappointed. They proceeded to ask how things went and I gave them every detail, leading up to my decision to never ski again.
“Remember, we were beginners once, too,” Melody said.
“Think about how much progress you made today!,” Adriana went on. “When you woke up, you didn’t even know to put skis on.”
“I can still barely do that!,” I said.
“Stop being so hard on yourself,” Melody said.
“And stop being such a whiny little bitch,” Adriana added for emphasis.
Melody looked at a text and became visibly upset. She slammed her phone down, with tears welling in her yes.
“Is everything okay?,” Adriana asked. Melody read the text aloud.
“Stop begging. I’m not coming back.”
Adriana and I both looked for words to say, but nothing came to us.
“I’m so, sorry.”
“Yeah, well fuck him!,” Melody said in a tearful rage. “I never did anything but love him!”
We ordered Melody a drink, knowing that it was our mission to keep her distracted. I could certainly relate to that. And despite my disaster on the slopes, at least this trip was keeping my mind off of reality.
Meanwhile, my snowboarder friend got up and walked away. I took a big swig of my beer. The girls must have sensed my frustration.
“Oh, we’re sorry,” Melody said, coming out of funk. The alcohol was already taking effect. “Did we ruin your date?”
“I’m sure it was nothing, anyway.”
“You should have said something!”
“Seriously, it’s no big deal. I’m sure it would have ended up like any other attempt I’ve made.”
“Well, it got you married once, didn’t it?”
“Not really. We fell in love through writing. That much I can do. It’s easier than talking. Besides, you can see how that turned out.”
“You really are a dork, aren’t you?,” Adriana said teasingly. I laughed at her brutal honesty.
“You know what we’re going to do tonight?,” Melody said, suddenly in high spirits.
“Sleep?,” I responded.
“No. We’re going to go out, get drunk and have a great time. That’s what we’re here for, right?”
“Sound good to me!,” Adriana said.
“I concur!,” I said.
“’Concur?,’” Adriana said, making fun of me. “Really?”
“First round on me!,” I said, diverting attention away from my dorky choice of words. “Might as well get this party started now.”
When we got our drinks, I held up my glass for a toast: “To the Downhill Trio.” We clinked glasses. We now had a name for ourselves.