I found this picture on my computer. I took the picture because I was trying to figure out how this was me, when “me”, to me, well, didn’t really exist in such concrete terms. I was what I had been doing all this season, not a concrete thing sitting doing nothing. I hadn’t really been doing a lot of thinking. Especially not even with the snowboard journals (Or maybe I was, and these are the doubts) So here it is.
On the last day of the season, we sat on the edge of a wooden banister while waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for the bus to pick up us. Waiting for our bodies to adjust to the chilling cold. Waiting for the water to stop dripping. That was it. Not only was it raining, it signalled the lowering of a breaking point, the absolute cut off where snow melted and joy faded. Actually, I can’t even remember if it was raining or just really cold. Something about the weather was not quite agreeable, and waiting an hour for the bus to finally make its appearance (“it only comes once every other time on the schedule since it’s the last day”) we found the conditions miserable.
Not that we said anything. We started off standing. I slot my board into the holder like everyone else, even though all i wanted to do was hold it. I had changed out of my boots and into plain old shoes. I guess the sky started its preemptive rain then. It’s not like we were going to go ride anyways. I watched jealously as some people rode straight to their cars in the parking lot. I’m 20, I have my license, if I didn’t have such an anxiety disorder from parents not allowing me to ride the bus alone until I was 18 I could be one of them. Anyways, ending the season by sliding down that path, reserved only for those with cars in the parking lots, seemed like a dream. But the rain, or whatever it was, drove us in. And although we started off just sheltering under the eave of the building, one by one we all hopped onto the banister to wait.
The banister was green and peeling. I remember feeling awkward. I remember feeling extremely conscious of the fact that I was a girl, and a small one at that. There were two other boys. One was kind of small, the other was asian but much more thick set. I remember thinking I wanted to be more like them, and how much I hated looking, no being, the wimpy small girl. I wanted to prove that that wasn’t who I am, but the reality was, I couldn’t think of anything, and that was because I was a rather wimpy small asian girl. The season was over. The time to be someone else, someone whom I could identify with more, was also done. I looked at my feet in their feminine mocassins, my small sized feet and the nicer legs of the boys. Then them nice boyish jackets. Mine was too, but I was still too small to fill it out like him. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. Had the bus come right away and picked me up without any time to think I would have still been scared.
The good part was it began to get so cold and the wait so uncertain we had to find our way indoors. I was the first to hop off the banister. Gradually the smaller guy followed. He had looked my way a few times, just as I had him. Nothing more than an aching hole that was too personal for two strangers to admit. But cold is hard not to admit to yourself, and I trekked uncertainly up to a desserted looking room behind an unmarked glass door. Luckily, it opened. I went inside. No one followed me for a good two minutes; then, as if preordained, the smaller guy came inside. He spoke.
“Can we go here? It’s so much warmer.” I agreed and said, “You have any idea where this is?”
“No idea, but it’s here…”
More of the casual questions. Where is the bus? Then he said he wasn’t from here. He had an accent. He was short and small, too. I made him laugh. It was hard because he wasn’t that open, probably because we weren’t the same age (He looked to be slightly older) It was boring to pace around in circles in a space the size of a lobby so when we got warmed up, we went back outside. The bigger asian guy was still sitting hammock style on the rail, stoic as a statue.
The bus came an hour later. By then I was just tired. Even I didn’t want to stay. I wasn’t even pissed that I had wasted an hour that I could be riding. I was too tired. Too many thoughts. It occurred to me that from spending so much time riding I had spent very little time thinking. Almost none, in fact. What effect this had on me and what were the meanings of the new things I was feeling were left un-pondered.
I guess that is why I have spent so much time pondering. There is a lot that changed. And the basest truth, which is that nothing changed at all. I was just living what had always been me; to realize what they were is simply a process of thinking it out. My motivations, my feelings, my actions, my explanations. Even now I don’t know. There’s the knowing of words, and then the knowing of being on snow. It’s not simply a matter of a priori and posteriori. Something was there-I just can’t define it.
I think my memory colours things. It obviously wasn’t what it was back then three months ago, lots of poor sleep as the reason. The moment was mostly bitter at the season ending and because I wasn’t thinking at all those past five months, I was deluding myself. Something hurt, and now I know it’s probably just being weak/ill/low energy etc. all the time as well as not trying to reach out for love. Five months of snowboarding was not going to cure that. And as for love, if I’m still foreveralone next year, it’s 100% because I didn’t try. Love, like everything, does not drop out of the sky. It requires that you talk to that boy, get to know him, not just watch him from afar, if you want to ever touch him; just as gaining more energy requires you to work for it with more sleep and a positive attitude. Stupid? Maybe. Better late than never? Yeah.
And I wonder if snowboarding really taught me anything at all, or just coloured my life in a rosy tint for those five months. I don’t know. All I know is that I think about chocolate every three hours; school once a week; and riding every single day.