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…