After conquering the bunny / learner hills, L and I began to hit the slopes.
I figured we’d eventually run into M, B and the rest of my family, but it was still just us several runs and at least 45 minutes later. I hoped M was enjoying himself somewhere, though I felt badly that I had invited him to come and had barely seen him since we arrived. B was also conspicuously absent.
L and I hopped on the chair lift and made our way back to the top. As we eased off the lift and headed toward the hill, I saw B standing near a group of people looking rather confused. We skied over, and this was our conversation:
Me: “Hi B! Where have you been? We haven’t seen you all night! Have you seen M anywhere?” (Distracted, I immediately began scanning the people around looking for him.)
B: “I’m not really sure. I don’t know where I am.”
(It’s important to note that B has a wickedly funny sense of humour. I immediately assumed that he was kidding with me.)
Me: “Haaaa. Very funny. Be serious. I haven’t seen you all night. How have you been?”
B: “I have no idea. How did I get here?” (I could hear an edge of panic creep into his voice, and as I really looked at his face, I could see in his eyes that he was not joking.)
Me: “B, what are you talking about? We are skiing with my family. We drove up a few hours ago. Don’t you remember?”
B: (Breathing quickly and nervously) “H, I can’t remember anything past breakfast. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
Me [starting to really really worry]: “This isn’t funny. Are you being absolutely serious with me? You can’t remember? Did you fall?”
B: “I don’t know. My head hurts.”
Me: “Okay. Don’t worry… we’ll find someone… somewhere….” (As I looked around I realized that the crowd of people that had JUST been there had disappeared and it was now just him, L & I at the top of the hill.)
Me: “Do you think that you can make it down the hill? We’ll take the easy one and go really slowly.”
B: “Yeah I think so.”
As he turned around to start down the hill I saw that the back of his hat was COVERED in snow, as was his back. Realizing then that he had probably fallen and hit his head, concern turn to full blown worry for my friend. I didn’t want him to panic any more than he already was, so I brightly rambled about this and that as we slowly zig zagged our way down the hill. L skied ahead for help, and there were two Ski Patrollers waiting for us when we got to the bottom. The next portion of the conversation went something like this:
SP#1: “Hi there! What’s your name?”
B: “I’m B.”
SP#1: “Hi B, I’m Spider.
B: “Hi Spider.”
SP#2: “Hi B, I’m George.” (He then pointed to the first Ski Patroller.) “Do you remember who this is?”
B: “No, we’ve never met.”
SP#1: “Sure we did! I’m Spider!” (pointing to Ski Patrol #2) “What about him? Do you remember his name?”
B [looking awfully frustrated]: “No.”
Spider and George decided that we needed to move over to the first aid hut. I stayed with B, and L skied off to find my mom, who was reading in the chalet. The next few minutes were spent assessing how badly B had hit his head and whether or not he needed to go to the hospital. They found a rather large bump but no cut, and informed me that it was most likely a mild concussion.
My mom arrived and we listened as the Ski Patrollers talked to B. After a few questions we realized that he had absolutely NO short term memory whatsoever. He was able to remember up to breakfast that morning, but anything after that was absolutely gone. After assessing him for a few minutes they decided that the concussion wasn’t bad enough to warrant a hospital visit, but were given some other instructions:
- B shouldn’t drive for the next 12 hours.
- If he slept, he needed to be woken up every 2 hours or so to make sure that everything was okay.
We left the First Aid hut and moved over to the chalet, where it was at least 45 minutes before any of his memory began trickling back, and it wasn’t all at once. First he could remember up to lunch that day, but nothing further. An hour or so later he could remember driving to the ski hill with me, and the next day he remembered how he fell, but to this day he has absolutely no recollection of the half hour or so between when I found him at the top of the hill to when we were about to leave the First Aid Hut.
We had been sitting in the chalet for some time before we realized that I had all but abandoned M.
It had now been hours since we arrived, and I had absolutely no idea where he was. It was almost time to leave, so I left B in the care of my mom and went out to try and find him. I took the chair lift to the top but he was no where to be found. I skied down the hill feeling awful, and absolutely convinced that he would never want to go out with me again.
In the meantime he had realized that it was getting late and that he needed to find me. While I was out looking for him, he made his way to the chalet where he found my mother. He ended up sitting with her until I made my way back to the chalet, where I apologized profusely and explained my absence all evening. He understood, but quietly thought it was a little strange that I had invited him all this way to go skiing together, only to leave him on his own all night where he didn’t know a soul.
In the previous chapter I highlighted that B had driven us up in his little standard car. It’s a small, but significant detail.
The first responders told us that B was in no shape to drive, and shouldn’t get behind a wheel for at least 12 hours. At that point, I had only driven standard once or twice in my life, and it had been years since M had either. He wasn’t really comfortable easing back into standard driving in a stranger’s car, at night, just two weeks after his accident. We quickly realized that we were stuck, and would be spending the night at my parents’ house.
So not only did M get to meet my family on our first date, he also got to have a sleepover. With me, and B… and no supplies since we had planned to drive back to the city that same evening.
My parents’ live in a cozy three bedroom home. My little brothers were still living at home at the time, so while they all slept upstairs, the three of us camped out downstairs. The plan was that B and M would sleep in the basement rec room, and I would crash on the couch in the living room with the solemn responsibility of waking B up every 2 hours. I was told that I couldn’t start the first 2 hour shift until he had fallen into a deep sleep, so I stayed downstairs to keep watch / make up for my horrendous manners in abandoning M all night. He later revealed that even my brother had wandered off on his own, so he had snowboarded alone most of the evening. I felt horrible. I figured the least I could do was sit and talk with him until I could start my first sleep shift.
At roughly 10:30pm we quietly turned on a movie and waited for B to fall asleep.
B was restless and it took him FOREVER to fall asleep, so we turned off the movie and started talking quietly instead. At some point we started laughing about a sock (I can’t quite remember the joke), but I will FOREVER remember B sitting up and angrily saying, “TAKE OFF YOUR OWN DANG SOCK.” Lol.
After he finally dozed off an hour or so later, I decided that I would stay downstairs for the first two hours so that M and I could keep talking. Well, they flew by, so I decided to stay for two more… and before I knew it was 5:30am and we had spent the entire night talking. I realized that my dad, the perpetual early riser, would wake up any minute and would be less than pleased to find that his youngest daughter had just spent all night talking to a boy. I crept upstairs to the living room, hoping he hadn’t already come down to find me absent. The house was still dark and quiet, so with my heart racing in my chest I pretended to sleep as I waited for him to come downstairs. Exhaustion finally overtook me and I fell into a deep hard sleep for about two hours.
I honestly think I started to fall in love with him that night. In the hours between B’s wake-up calls, we talked about anything and everything. He opened up and talked about his recent church service mission in Oregon and about growing up in his small apartment in the city. I can’t remember our entire conversation, but I will always remember how I felt. My heart was racing and I had butterflies in my stomach, but at the same time I felt so comfortable with him. We had really only just met, but it felt like we had known each other for years.
We honestly just talked for hours… lying on the floor with our hands almost touching, wanting to hold them but both us afraid to make the first move. It sounds silly now, but at one point I remember our fingers brushed and it was like a bolt of electricity shot through me. When I finally went upstairs (for fear of being caught by my father) I knew that I was already crazy about him… and I could only hope that he felt the same way about me.
B finally regained the bulk of his memory the next day. When I asked him what happened, he told me how he had started off on the small hills with L and I, but quickly got bored of that and moved to something that looked a little more exciting– moguls. He remembers making it over the first one, gaining speed as he hit the second, and when he hit the third his feet went up over his head and that was that.
I’m so grateful that he wasn’t more seriously injured… though I’ve always secretly been the smallest, tiniest, teensiest bit grateful that he was. If he had been well enough to drive home that night, I’m honestly not sure that M would have ever asked me out again. It was in those quiet hours in the middle of the night that all the walls came down and we really got to know one another. It was B’s concussion that really pushed us together, and for that, I’ll always be grateful. ❤️
P.s. Except for the loss of memory for those 20 minutes, B was totally fine the next day… though my family continued to tease him about wearing a helmet for ALL occasions for years. ❤️
<<PREVIOUS CHAPTER: The Worst First Date (Part One)
[Original Post: http://lifeisgoodblog.ca/2008/03/chapter-6-the-ski-trip-part-2.html/]