If I told you that I was just a little nervous and only slightly intimidated from the view in front of me, that would be flat out lying. I am hoping that when you read my story about this one day in my life, you will understand why it is that I feel that lying isn't always the best answer. So I bring you this story with as much truth as I can remember and leaving out as much lying or stretching-of-the-truth as I can.
I was so scared I was shaking in my seat as my mother's car(with me in the passengers seat) pulled into the schools parking lot. I was berating myself about how I could have ever thought that being dressed like I was would be okay, and that I would be able to fit in with the rest of the people getting into the bus.
After telling my classmates for the past two weeks how excited I was that I would be able to go skiing with them, it felt like there was no way to bow out and just never show up like I had originally planned. Of course, with my quick thinking and great long term planning skills, I had realized just the night before that it was too late to back out of going skiing with the rest of their church's youth group.
It's hard to call them friends even though I'd known them for the last three years. Moving from a large public school in southern California to a small private school with just a little over 260 students in the center of Minnesota is an experience I wouldn't wish to happen to many people if anyone. When I joined my new class at the start of eighth grade I had found out that 75% of the kids in my class had known each other from their kindergarten class.
Sure, they tried a few times to get me involved with their group activities, but I could usually make myself just a little too busy to do much with them. I was shy and always felt like I was just an outsider whenever I was around them.
I was hoping that this skiing trip would be different. Now that it was to late to back out, I had been trying to psych myself up with the fact that the girl of my dreams was also going to be coming along. Of course, at this point in my life almost every girl I knew(or had seen fairly recently) played a part in my dreams, but at least I had one that usually stood out more then the others.
Not one ounce of the excitement, that I had since getting my stuff ready the night before, could be found when I saw the other kids getting out of cars and lining up next to the bus. It wasn't the sight of how many people were coming on this trip that had me feeling a tight ball in my gut, but the sight of each one of them getting ready to go had me feeling just about as bad as I imagine I could. They were ALL color coded and matching to the extreme!
The purple hat, went to the purple ear-muffs, went to the purple jacket, went to the purple snow pants, went to the purple boots, went to even the purple gloves that held the purple skis: and that was just one of the many colors that I was seeing before me. It didn't matter wether it was brown, black, red, blue, or even pink; everyone was done up as if they all had gotten their outfits from the same place with specific instructions to be in the same style but different color as each other. I never did get the courage up enough to ask them how they had done this.
The only way that I could possibly tell you why this sight made me feel like I was, would be to explain to you that most of my strength to finally go on this trip came from the fact that I had put together the best skiing set I could have hoped for the night before the trip. I had a brief thought that maybe starting to get ready for this the night before probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had.
Having no snow boots and just the one pair to tennis shoes that I always wore was not a problem, since I had chosen to put on three pairs of socks. The first were the long soccer socks that went up almost to my knees. Then I had tucked the next pair of socks over my blue jeans. I had figured that jeans would work as the perfect under layer to keep my skin from getting wet. The last pair stretched tightly over the sweat pants I had on over my jeans. Even though I'd be hot in sweat pants, I planned they would make a great insulator and would keep the jeans from getting wet. And last pair of socks would be hidden behind the only pants I had that were big enough to put over what I had already had on. It was a neon green pair of jeans that I had worn during the previous years children's summer camp as one of the clowns.
For shirts I'd done a better job(at least I thought the night before), but my sense in matching didn't really appear to match with the other kids going on this trip. A white sleeveless t-shirt started my shirts off, being that I always cut the sleeves off of every t-shirt I owned for personal comfort. Next was the long sleeve gray and black polo that was thin and light, but the only long sleeve shirt that I felt comfortable wearing with the sleeves actually not rolled up on. A thin set of cotton gloves tucked under the sleeves of my last shirt so that the snow would not touch my wrists. And finally for these layers of shirts was a red and black plaid flannel shirt that was cotton under layered. Like today, I usually wore this shirt as my jacket. For gloves, I wore my regular pare of gently used black gloves that only had a few small holes on the inside of the palms.
A brown hand-stitched scarf was around my neck. I couldn't believe my mother had insisted I wear it but with her um... "encouragement" there was no way I could leave it behind. It was the only scarf in the house and personally I think it went with the leg warmers I saw her wearing in a picture of herself as a child. For a hat I reasoned that I just couldn't have on a normal hat, or else it would seem to those who looked at me like I had on what I did, because it was all that I could afford. Unlike the new winter clothes They would probably be wearing. So the topper literally for this set was the hat that had the three long points like a jester's hat, and bells on the tips of them. I had gotten this hat from the State Fair for fifteen dollars. At the time I thought it looked cool with the black head band, forest green and black points each topped by an empty black bell. When I decided on this hat the night before, I figured it would draw the attention up to my head instead of down to my feet. In my mind I can only remember how much I was trying to hide the fact that I didn't have boots but had to wear my regular shoes instead. Not a very good decision I realized just a little to late. And now my mom was telling me that I had to get out of the car so she could get on with her day.
With the biggest smile I could get on my face(I think it ended up being something like a crooked frown), I stepped out of the car. Looking ahead at the crowd of candy colored outfits and trying to associate each person with a different Skittles or M&Ms I think is what finally got me to move towards them. The girl that I liked at the moment had ended up wearing pink with her two closest friends in yellow and light blue, definitely Laffy-Taffy.
The youth group leader that was writing the names of each kid against the list of who had signed up to go, looked up at me and waved saying, "Glad you could make it Nezz."
It was as if on queue, everyone stopped talking and turned to look at me. At least that is what it sure felt like had happened. I smiled, nodded, and walked to the end of the line to get on the bus.
A few of the people ahead of me were giving me a strange look, probably at what I had on, but for the most part they were all acting indifferent to me. Then one of the guys from my class came up to me and said how glad he was that I had been able to make it. The only thing I said to him was that there was no way I would have missed what looked to be such an incredible trip.
I kept quiet most of the way there, but by listening to what was said and even by what was left unsaid confirmed that one of my fears about coming along was correct, and I really was the only one on the bus that had never been skiing before. What little bit of strength I had gotten from finding out that they had not really expected me to show up left the instant this realization came to me.
When their question of "When was the last time you went skiing?" came around my way, the easiest answer I could think of came out and I heard myself saying "It's been a few years. I might be a bit rusty at the start but I'll be okay once I get back into the hang of it." The conversations went on, but from the looks that I got from a few of my classmates, I knew they saw through my lie.
After arriving and paying to get in, I knew I was in trouble when I was the only one in the group to step into the line to rent a set of skis. Everyone else moved on ahead to where they could get their skis on, so luckily no one was around while I looked at which skis I should grab to wear that would be best for me. It was lucky for me that the person immediately behind me saw that I was having a problem and decided to give some free advice. I quietly said that I was new to skiing and greatly appreciated the help. he said picking the correct skis depended on my height and weight. It was such a common thing to him to know this that I was instantly glad that no one I knew was around when he told me this.
Small groups of three, four, and five were forming when I made it back to the group and three of the guys from my class said they'd wait for me. This way I could join them and start with a refresh on what I might have forgotten since the last time I'd been skiing.
We went down a kiddy path a few times to get the feel of things and then they wanted to hit an intermediate hill. I was feeling somewhat confident so far, and by watching them ski, I had been learning what to do without asking for help. I figured I was ready for the next step.
The intermediate hill started out nice and slow, but with some hills put down the center and a steeper incline, it was turning out to be more then what I was prepared for. Every time I started to pick up speed, my legs wanted to do the splits and or run in to each other. Staying to the side of this path and closer to the trees seemed like the safest place to be since all the bumps were situated closer to the center of this path. I soon realized my error in thinking this almost right away.
My right leg was being pulled farther from my left leg, and when I tried to compensate for this, my right leg shot very fast and quite unexpectedly in front of my body. The next thing I realized, I was sliding down the hill on my stomach trying to keep my face off of the snow. I don't remember being airborne in the beginning, but after I stood up, the person closest to me said it was spectacular! I couldn't quite agree at the time and I still don't know if I would, but then again I didn't get to see it, I only felt it.
I think what amazed me, and the few people that saw it happen, the most was I just stood up and wiped the snow off of me. I didn't even feel hurt at all. After I had gotten up, and brushed off most of the snow that found it's way on and under my flannel shirt, I looked to see where the one ski that had come off my boot was at. Seeing it, close to twenty feet above me on the hill, sure had me wondering exactly how far I had fallen. I looked to my side and saw how close I had been to sliding into the trees and that really shook me up. It was easy to convince myself at this point that in no way was I ready for the intermediate areas.
I went up the hill and grabbed the ski that had fallen off. After putting it back on, I went very slowly down the hill. I noticed that none of the group I had started with had waited for me, so I took the opportunity to go back to the beginner area. At least I'd try to enjoy some of the money I had spent in order to make this trip worth it.
While I was in the starters area, a few groups of people I knew came up to find out what I was doing. After convincing them that I had hurt my side by falling down after a 'nasty' jump, I just needed some time to recuperate. I even had the Laffy-Taffy group feeling bad for me. If I could just play out the rest of the day by being hurt, I'd have it made and no one would know the truth.
It was getting close to when we would have to leave when the original group I had started with came up to me. They said they had lost me and was curious as to where I had been. After a few unfinished sentences and some pointing to random places, I informed them that I had done just about everything there was to do, and was just relaxing before we had to leave.
That's when their question came up, "Had I been down the black diamond?" I knew that I couldn't say yes, since I didn't even know what a 'black diamond' was. I had to say something, so I told them that I hadn't gotten a chance to, but that I would just do it the next time I came here. If I had only known that this was all just a set-up, I would have been so much better off. I guess some things you don't learn until after you stretch the truth, and find that the ones you are talking to know it.
They said that there was just enough time for one last run, and I could go up with them to do this black diamond. If I didn't do this with them, they told me it would be no problem and I could then brag that I'd done everything that this place had to offer.
I was talked into it when they informed me that I was the only one left in the entire group that hadn't gone down it yet. With this I couldn't back down, so up the lift we went. Once we got near to reaching the top of the hill, I really started wishing that I had put up more of an argument. There were only two ways to get down, ski or walk, and they knew I wouldn't be able to go the first route!
After some laughing back and forth between themselves, they took off and started their way down. And yes, is was a long way down. From one side to the next side, they went back and forth all the way down until they reached the bottom. Then, looking up, they just stayed there at the bottom waiting for me and laughing. I was in trouble and I knew it. There was no way I could get down like they had, and taking off the skis to walk down was just to embarrassing for me to deal with.
Seeing a bright pink outfit at the base of the hill did the thinking for me and with an unintentional push, I was heading down.
The delusion that I would not get hurt on the way down or that I was going to come to a safe stop right where I should at the bottom never even registered as I held my breath and clamped my teeth shut. It was a steep incline and had two small jumps located near the center of the hill. I figured that these areas were to give a skilled skier some added fun and a bit of a challenge. Noticing them as I started heading down didn't quite fill me with joy. It was a fight for me to keep my eyes open after I went over the edge. With my knees bent like I had seen once on television and feet slightly apart, I was on my way and it was going to be a quick trip down.