Skiing (badly), knees (swollen), limits (irritating), and romance (of a sort).
This is going to be a rambler. Bear with me.
The last time I skied was in 2007. I wasn’t great, but I could comfortably do a California blue run without falling. I enjoyed it. I wasn’t too worse for wear after.
Let’s skip ahead twelve years, which, apparently, makes a difference in your body…
And now we’re in Italy. I’ve never skied in Europe, but it won’t be hugely different from LA, right?
They grade their lifts Very differently. We got on a red run (middle) for our first run out, and I fell. And fell. And fell. And fell some more. And then I clicked out of my skies, and hiked/slid the rest of the way down. Nic skied down with my skies over her shoulder so I didn’t have those to contend with too.
I went back to the hotel room. Have you ever walked a mile downhill in ski boots? It’s about as much fun as kicking a wall barefoot. The next day I took lessons and remembered some fundamentals. That helped. For the rest of the week I skied little blues (beginner) and managed to stay upright.
But it’s not been fun. Nic comes down excited by the speed, by the exhilaration of it. I wish I felt that way. But when all you can think about is not falling, when the slightest bit of speed scares you…not a lot of fun. With more practice and time, I’d probably get back to the sense of fun I felt over a decade ago.
Knees and limits
And then there’s age–do we get more fearful with age? Nic certainly hasn’t. Maybe it’s because I live with pain on a daily basis, and I’m acutely aware of what more pain would bring with it. My knees have been swollen and almost unbendable each night, and that’s not lots of fun either… I’m not a fan of feeling so…stunted.
Which brings me to Romance.
Nic loves to ski. To spend every moment of the day flying down slope after slope. She drinks it in and it energises her.
But she took the time to do some very slow runs with me. Backwards, giving me tips, helping me. She could have left me, but she stayed and lost hours of good ski time to make sure I was okay. And on the day I took the wrong lift and was sitting in the snow, trying to figure out what to do, she skied up and saved me again. She’d seen on the ski tracker I was in the wrong place, and headed straight over.
And when I cried, and asked when it would start being fun? She wiped away my tears and urged me not to give up, to draw on my fortitude. And she went over to the right run with me and waited until my confidence was back. (I’m tearing up as I write this.)
This is romantic, folks. Patient, sweet, and attentive. I’m so damn lucky.
On our last day, I’m hanging out in the hotel room, relaxing. I have to accept that my body has limitations because of my disease, and we’ve got a big travel day tomorrow. So I’m being sensible, even though part of me wanted to do a few last runs to end on a good note. Next year, I’ll be ready for all of it.