Just another story

I am not really sure what finally broke my fall, but I came to a stop before the trail dropped off into a stand of trees. I had to walk back up the mountain to pick up my skis and poles, which were strewn across the mountain. With a bruised pride, and a body to match, I walked down the rest of the way to the lodge, where a hotel room and a hot shower awaited me. By 8 P.M., fatigue and pain were beginning to be of secondary concern, compared to the hunger pains in my stomach. I asked at the front desk for a recommendation for a restaurant, and set out to get the first meal of the day. As I sat at my table, drinking a beer alone, I noticed that there were a lot of pretty women, in tight ski pants and sweaters, standing by the bar. I quickly reminded myself that my almost shattered ego could not face another defeat. I turned my attention back to my plate and resumed my meal.

Once I arrived back to my hotel room, sleep came effortlessly as soon as my head hit the pillow. At 9 A.M. I awoke remarkably well rested. I got dressed and headed down to breakfast in the hotel lobby. There were skiers everywhere. Waiting on line for my oatmeal and maple syrup, I saw a beautiful young lady standing by herself. I walked up to her and said, “Isn’t this the greatest place to ski in the East?” She replied, “I've just started skiing and this is my first day.” I told her that had gotten in yesterday, feeling as if I was an accomplished skier already. I said, "My name is Ron. What is yours?" “Jill.” I asked if she would like to share a table with me. To my surprise, she said yes. In less than twelve hours of being in Vermont, things seemed to really be turning around. But not for long.

When we sat down at the table, the first thing she did was thank God for the food she was about to receive. Then she proceeded to tell me about God, and how she had decided to dedicate her life to telling people about God. She told me she was a Jehovah’s Witness. All of my romantic fantasies had been suddenly crushed by this statement. I ate quickly and excused myself by saying I want to get on the slopes early today.

I really wasn't sure I had the courage to get back on skis, but I didn't want to appear to be a liar, in case I ever saw Jill again, which was not my plan. I figured that I had already paid for a full week of skiing, so I should make the best of it. I signed up for private lessons with a guide named Mark from Vermont. I told him I did not know how to ski. He asked me when I arrived at Killington and I said yesterday afternoon. He asked what have you been doing since you arrived? I told him which trails I had gone down and then reluctantly told him of my failure on my last trail. Mark said something that helped me then and many times after that as well. He said, “You know how to ski. You just need to get your confidence level up. As long as you are confident and feel like you are in control, you can ski anywhere." After spending a couple of days with Mark, I learned that he was right. The rest of the week passed quickly and, when I suddenly remembered that I had to return home, my heart sank, as I remembered to what and whom I was return.

During the long ride home, I decided on the words to tell my about the divorce. I planned to spend time alone with them the following weekend. I would take them on their first ski trip. I also thought about my employees at my office. They also would have to be told. The news would explain why so many appointments had recently had to be cancelled and rescheduled. Once I made these decisions, the calm returned.

The Nissan Pathfinder pulled into the garage late. Everyone was asleep when I returned. Monday morning was filled with surprises. First thing in the morning, I had an office meeting to tell my staff about my divorce and to get my messages from my time away. Cindy, Lani, Shelly and Lori did something that I never expected. Once I told them, they all wrapped their arms around me in a big group hug. Then they said, “It is time for you to make a change, to become the new you. You need to shave off your beard, get a haircut, and buy new clothes. We get off work early today and we are taking you shopping."

The first stop was the hairstylist in the mall. That was Lori’s department. "You are not in style anymore. I see you with short hair and a scruffy Brad Pitt beard." I relaxed as the stylist and Lori discussed my transformation, but I balked at shaving the beard. My face had not been shaved since high school. I did not even know what was under the beard. I do know that it had become grey and made me look older than my years. My whole life I always wanted to be older. When I was twelve, I wanted to be thirteen. When I was fourteen, I wanted to be sixteen. At sixteen, I wanted to be eighteen. And at eighteen, I wanted to be twenty-one. Now it seemed that I had crossed over to the other side. I thought that there should be at least a week and a half that you can bask in the luxury of knowing that you are at the perfect age. The thought about taking off my beard started to take form. I might look younger. In any case, if Lauren wanted someone else, maybe I could be someone new, and she would reconsider. I was prepared to go home and do it.