ghosts of decembers past

Saturday I’m taking my first trek up to a ski resort in almost 5 years to go snowboarding. I’m pretty anxious to see how it will go – seeing as I equally love and hate the sport.

I’m not an athletic person and have never played or done anything remotely athletic very well. (Except for cheering for 2.5 years in high school – I was really fit back then, but I’ll admit it, it’s just not the same as a sport, you know.) So, I loved snowboarding and was really proud of myself when I actually got decent enough to pull out some good runs. No matter what, I was always last in my pack to pull in after a slope, but that was okay, it still made me feel good about myself now and again. And, of course, there is just no other place like a snow capped mountain. It’s the most crisp, peaceful, place on Earth. The world could be collapsing around me and I’d still find my happy place there.

It was a spur of the moment decision to go up on Saturday, and I’ve spent all week really amped myself up about going. I’m nervous what it will be like to try it again after being out of practice for so long. I keep visualizing in my head how to do it, hoping it might be like riding a bike.

Tonight I was inventorying my things, just in case I needed to make any last minute pit stops tomorrow to sort out my gear. I dug out my old hats and mittens and long johns. I tried on my boots and looked over my board, which has lived in a garage for way too long and probably should have been sold years ago. The last thing I pulled out was my old ski jacket. I went through the pockets. I am notorious for leaving things in pockets. Maybe a $5 bill, a misplaced beloved chap stick, or an old hair tie?

None of the above. Instead, I got a knife in my back when I pulled out an old crumpled restaurant receipt from a coffee/pastry place in Keystone at the base of the mountain. It was dated 12/31/2005 at 10:43 in the morning. It was for $16.23, which I guarantee got two toasted bagels, some type of sugary latte, and probably a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew or a Gatorade. The receipt also had that stupid scribbled signature of his. The ex.

Everything I hated about snowboarding came flooding back looking at that faded yellow carbon copy receipt. Now all snowboarding reminds me of is yelling. And frustration. And anger. And hives. (I have an allergic reaction to the cold when I am under emotional stress.) Looking at each piece of my snowboarding gear now reminds me of him and reminds me of one epic fight or another – one time he was seconds away from abandoning me on the mountain and driving home without me. It reminds me of how he did abandon me exactly a year later, on New Year’s Eve 2006 in Arizona, where I knew not a single soul, so he could go snowboarding. God only knows with who. I sat on the couch binging on fudge from a holiday basket a supplier from work sent me, watching episode after episode of Desperate Housewives on DVD. Oh the irony.

All those winters snowboarding with, or without, him were a very sad time in my life. Right now the memory of that despair feels as real as it once was. My hatred for him is as strong as ever.

I was afraid of this.

I hate so much how my past can still haunt me. Little stupid material things pop up or I hear a song or I eat a certain food . . . things still shake me, still take my breath away, still make me hesitate about doing something or going somewhere. There are just some places and things that are so inherently him, or us, that I have a hard time being there or facing them without starting to panic. Snowboarding is one of those things.

It’s so ridiculous, though. Moments like this, while growing a lot more few and far between over time, once I dry my tears, they just piss me off. I get mad at myself, so mad. Haven’t I shed enough tears over him? Haven’t I felt enough anger and hatred to last a lifetime? Will the last shred of evidence we ever existed together ever disappear? I guarantee he doesn’t give me a second thought. It just doesn’t seem fair.

God am I ever so tired of life not being fair.

I will be going to a resort on Saturday that I never went to with him. I hope the new scenery will be enough for me to shake these feelings off. I hope the sport itself isn’t truly tainted for me. I want to be able to find a love . . . or a hate . . . for snowboarding all on my own. I don’t care which, I just want to find one or the other . . . so long as it’s free from memories of him.


  1. I hope you have fun snowboarding Alison! I’ve been too afraid to try it, but I love to ski! You’re human Alison, and most humans have lots of emotions. Don’t fault yourself too much for having emotions. They make us who we are.

  2. Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf. ~Jonatan Mårtensson

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