Hopeless

Goofy skiing

My face was burning with embarrassment, not to mention glistening with sweat. Why couldn’t I manage to do what seemed to come naturally to everyone else, even the first-timers? Never mind the first-timers, I saw children as young as three or four years old, not only holding their balance, but whizzing past me. Where were their parents?

I’d consider it a small victory if I could stand for at least twenty seconds. Hell, I’d take ten seconds. Anything more than these humiliating five seconds.

“Bend your knees.”

“Uncross your skis.”

“Lean forward. Don’t lean back.”

So many instructions. I’m sure they work. Everyone else is moving along.

Bam! Down I go again. At this point, I’m a pro at falling. I already had so much respect for skiers when I watch the winter Olympics, but now that I was on the slopes for the first time ever, I held them in a whole new regard. This shit seems impossible.

I spent all that money on thermals, gear, ski, boot and helmet rental, and a lift ticket, which I’ll probably never advance enough to use. Add to that list of expenses, the round trip Jet Blue tickets to fly to Salt Lake City, Utah, from New York City, my share of the Air BnB rental, the solo Lyft half hour ride to JFK from my apartment, and then the shared Uber ride from Salt Lake City International airport to the Air BnB. I took vacation days from work to come on this ski trip. Dammit, I wanna ski! I’m gonna ski. I have to ski.

Now, if I can just pull myself up—again—and stay up.

Everyone in the crew has been down and back up this part of the blue trail by now. I have yet to make it down the mountain just once. Correction: I’ve been down on the mountain. I just haven’t skied down.

I shouldn’t have worn so many layers. I thought I’d be freezing out here in the snow, but it’s a beautiful sunny day here in Park City. I underestimated how hot I’d get skiing. I underestimated how much effort it would take to ski. They all make it look so easy.

Let me get back up and snap this boot into place.

This essay was written during the Gotham Writers Workshop Friday Write-In I wrote about here. The writing prompt was the word “hopeless.”
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