Accused of Attempted Murder

Part Two

Please read Part One first!

We disembarked from the ski chair, and I led to the left. The gentle slope led me to a run I had skied multiple times in the past; simple and easy. I chose a beginner slope, or so I thought. I remembered an easy grade with minimum pitch and gorgeous terrain. In retrospect, I never saw a trail marker, probably because I didn’t look for one. Taking the lead and moving down the mountain, feeling the cold breeze against my face would offer me the chance to get my head together; I slowly moved forward. I thought I had chosen a simple run, as Marianne had only been skiing a couple of times before. Marianne followed close behind. As I skied over the first ridge, I immediately recognized the steep pitch of an advanced slope. I wondered, where am I. Skiing over the first ridge; I realized I had led both of us onto a double diamond run, difficult for me and impossible for Marianne.
As I coached her down the mountain, falling occasionally and watching her take spill after spill, I realized I had put us both in danger. She could be hurt. We focused on the job at hand. I had forgotten that minutes earlier, my friend had told me the most important fact about her life- who she chose to love.
One hour later, when the danger seemed to dissipate, with skis in hand, walking down in knee-deep snow and crawling over moguls the size of little hills, Marianne laughed at the top of her lungs, smiling at me, ” I’ve come out to a few people, but Stacie, no one else has tried to kill me!”
We tell this friendship story, entitled “When Stacie Tried To Kill Me” at gatherings and between ourselves. My love for her has never wavered, and I have no idea what happened on that ski slope some 30 years ago when I steered her onto a double diamond ski run. Could it have been unconscious biases guiding my actions? Could it have been my need to appear accepting, using up so much brain space, that I had blinders on for the reality surrounding me? I wonder…

Accused of Attempted Murder

Part One

We planned a ski trip to a fashionable resort, joining a group of friends from my sister’s sports club. I promised Marianne a private ski lesson, as she had only been to the slopes a few times before. It was the early 90’s, and I hadn’t seen Marianne in over two years. Our residency programs kept us busy and free time was spent with family. Marianne had made my medical school years bearable, even fun. Brilliant, confident, and beautiful, I aspired to be just like her. I talked about the trip, she said she would join us. Weeks later, she called and said, ” I have something I want to talk to you about on the trip.” Why not now, I said. “It has to be in person.” sounding severe. On each phone call leading up to the trip, I would ask what she wanted to talk about, and each time she would say, ” It has to be in-person.” Even after greeting all of my sister’s friends in the Colorado chalet, getting comfortable in our appointed rooms, she avoided the conversation. “Let’s talk on the slopes,” she said. The night before skiing, I couldn’t sleep. Repetitive thoughts kept me awake. Was it her new boyfriend, Andre? Her parents disapproved. They never approved of anyone. Had she been diagnosed with a terminal illness? She appeared healthy? What was I missing?

As the ski lift took us higher and higher into the air, as the blue sky and the sun peeked through the clouds, my anxiousness mounted. What was it? In medical school, we confided with each other about everything. She was my person.

I pushed, “Marianne, please, tell me what is going on? Are you sick?”

“No,” she said. ” I’m healthy. It’s Andre”.

I knew it. “Your parents disapprove because he is white? Right?”

“No, my parents have never met him, ” She continued, “I wanted to let you know that Andre is actually Adrienne!”

Her words hung in the cold, dry air. I just stared at her. She said slowly, making eye contact with me, as I was obviously stunned. “Her name is Adrienne, and … I’m gay.”
As her words hung in the air, I actually felt my body shrink into itself while my thoughts raced to question myself silently over and over. What did she say? What do I say next? What am I supposed to say? What do I do?
She began to recall how she and Adrienne had met. How she had kept this secret from me for so long and why. How her parents would never approve. That she had kept the secret to keep her career in medicine.

She interrupted my thoughts, ” Stacie… Stace, are you listening to me?” Suddenly, jolted out of my thoughts, I yelled, ” Oh Thank God,… I thought you had cancer!”