Today marks a momentous occasion.
Actually, tomorrow is the momentous occasion. But I’m celebrating it today since it’s Friday and I post on Fridays and all that.
A year ago tomorrow, I posted my first Sam story. Can you believe it? I’ve been pestering you guys with my little, awkward drama king for almost a year.
To commemorate this occasion, here is another Sam adventure. Behold! Olympics, Snowboarding, and Sprained Wrists: Part One (Samiversary Story):
The car zipped down the highway at speeds Timber probably shouldn’t be reaching.
“Mom’s gonna freak! She’ll blame me and––”
I flinched, pulling the phone away from my ear. Timber glanced over, and I shrugged.
“Samantha, I’m fine. I promise,” I said.
“Timber said you were kidnapped and broke your leg or something! I mean, I’m used to the occasional concussion, but kidnapping!? I shouldn’t have let you go. I knew––”
‘’My legs are perfectly f––” The car hit a pothole, and I nearly dropped the phone. “Fine.” I hid my taped wrist behind my back.
I blew out my cheeks. “I’ll tell you if you promise to calm down, ok?”
“I am calm. I am perfectly calm.” Samantha exhaled, sending a burst of static into my ear.
“You ready?” I asked.
“I wiped out. On a snowboard.”
Apparently, Timber gets really motivated after the winter Olympics.
I call it Olymphoria. It’s that burst of invincibility you feel after seeing trained professionals take on the slopes which makes you think you can do something similar. Only after a visit to the hospital a few hours later do you realize you’d be better at winter sports on the Xbox.
The ski lift paused as it swept up another set of innocent victims…ahem…snowboarders and carried them upward. I pushed my board forward, stomach fizzing like it was full of Pepsi and Mentos. The sun glared off the artificial snow, and I had to shade my eyes when I looked up (and up and up) the hill.
Timber and Matt slid in front of a chair. I tensed as it scooped them up.
I had bonded with Timber after we met during the King-and-James incident. He‘d graduated since then and spent most of his time at college. He’d called us up and said the Olympics were a good excuse as any to hit the slopes and had skipped class to snowboard with us for the day.
Before you laugh picturing me trying to balance on a board, note that I have gone snowboarding once before. I’m kinda good. I only fell about five times.
Ok, ten. And yes, I was on the bunny hill. They say the first time is the hardest, right?
We were next. The chair nearly took out my knees when it whipped around, and Jade laughed when I collapsed into the seat. My snowboard hung off one leg. I clung (loosely, of course) to the railing. Why don’t these chairs have seat belts?
Jade leaned back. “You scared, Glitter Kid?”
“Me?” I slowly peeled my fingers off the railing. “Never.” I looked down.
We’d been on the lift for about a minute, and already the ground was farther away than it should ever be from any human without wings. The now tiny people sent up tiny puffs of snow as they rode their tiny snowboards back and forth, back and forth.
I held the railing like my hands were magnets. Who cared if I looked like a wimp in front of Jade? It wasn’t like she didn’t already know.
Jade was too busy glaring at a snowboarder one chair back to notice my fear.
I followed Jade’s gaze. The girl behind us watched the skiers below with a smile, her brown hair flickering outside of her hood. Tinted goggles and a kerchief hung from her neck.
She didn’t look evil to me.
“Why are you glaring at her?” I whispered.
“She was laughing at you.”
I flushed and faced forward. “That’s not unusual.”
“Girls laugh at guys when they like them.”
“Really?” I looked back. The girl was still staring off into the distance.
“Why do you think I laugh at Matt all the time?”
“Because….” She had a point. Matt had the sense of humor of an angry Eeyore.
Jade resumed her scowling. I slowly peeled my hands away from the bar.
Vertigo took over. The next breath I took would accidentally send me plummeting. I looked up the hill, hoping the redirection would calm me down.
Nope. The people at the top were so far away they looked like blobs of seasoning on a pizza.
I dropped my head back. The lift was attached to the cable by a piece of metal as wide as my thumb.
Clinging to the lift wouldn’t matter anyway. The thing was going to snap, and we were all going to plummet to our snowy graves.
I wrapped my arms around the railing like a soaked rat hugging a reed that’s probably going to break anyway. We should have gone snow tubing.
At least we would die before I had to snowboard down the hill.
A few thousand hours later, we reached the top. I nearly kissed the ground when we dismounted.
“You ready, guys?” Timber had already buckled his other boot into his board and hopped toward the hill.
I flopped onto the snow. Was it just me, or had all the blood drained out of my face to rest in my quaking legs?
The hill might as well have been a drop off into a bottomless abyss; it was that steep. The ski lodge sat waaaay off into the distance, only as big as my thumb nail.
Not quite. More like a few of my fingers. But it seemed smaller.
“Are you sure this is a green hill and not like, a triple black diamond?” I asked.
Timber hopped over to me. “It says green on the map.” He offered me a hand. Jade and Matt finished buckling in their shoes.
“I…I’d like to watch you guys first. You know, get a good look at how to go down. Visually.” I swallowed. “With my eyes.”
“Your sister wouldn’t want you going down alone.”
“I don’t think she’ll die.”
Timber gave me a long look before nodding. “Don’t take too long, alright?”
Timber hopped to the edge with Jade and Matt. He balanced on a ridge for a moment, then yelled, “Timber!” before jumping into a slide. Jade and Matt followed.
They raced down the slope with a speed that made my stomach flip and a grace that could make a figure skater envious. Timber reached the ski lift pillars and weaved in and out of them, a stream of snow leaping before his board with every sharp turn he took.
My breathing accelerated. No way I could handle my board at that speed. I was going to fall and break both legs, then….
The girl from the ski lift plopped onto the snow a pace or two away, adjusting her boots. Freckles dotted her nose and brought out her brown, confident eyes.
I mean, if eyes could look confident, hers would. Her snowboard had a design I hadn’t seen on any of the rentals.
She caught me staring and smiled a little.
I cleared my throat. “Air’s a little thin up here.”
“It’s ok to be scared. It’s a hard hill for newbies,” she said.
“Wh…what? Scared? Pshaw, never. I’m just, ah….” I fiddled with my boot. “Fixing my shoe.” I’d lost track of Timber and the other two already, which shoved my stomach up my throat.
She smirked. “Ok. I can show you the slow way down if you want.”
I would be indebted to you for all eternity.
No. I am a strong 17-year-old who can take this triple black diamond by himself. People did this sort of stuff all the time on TV. All I had to do was go back and forth, back and forth.
I stood up. “Thanks, but I’ve got this.” I slid over to the edge.
“Don’t forget to lock in your boot,” Miss Confident said.
I looked down at my shoes. “Oh, yeah. I mean, I was totally going to do that.” I buckled the ties with fumbling fingers. I looked like such an idiot.
And why should I care? I’d never see this girl again once I wiped out, hit my head, and sunk into a lifelong coma.
My heartbeat rocked my rib cage like waves rock a sinking ship. I inhaled, staring down my icy foe.
And so I die.
I pushed my board into motion. As if it knew I was as incompetent at skiing as a whale is at walking, it headed straight for the ski lift pillars.
I bent my knees, wobbling this way and that. The wind bit my eyes. By some mercy of the heavens, I made it past the first pole without dying.
Then the panic set in. My heart stopped.
I headed straight toward the next blue pillar.
I jerked, trying to turn, but my board shot out from under my feet.
I managed to throw out an arm as I pitched forward, but it didn’t help. I hit the ground and tumbled.
What is with Sam embarrassing himself in front of girls all the time? I think he has bad luck. Or a curse. Either one.
I know I said I’d be posting only three times a month, but I can’t be cruel and make you all wait forever for the next part. It’s going to mess up my whole schedule, but I think I’ll survive. 😉
See you next week!
-Gabrielle R. Pollack