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Snow White and Rose Red

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Deirdre Conroy

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I’ve said goodbye to the lodgers and the cost centres, none of us believed I’d actually get going.

The boarding gate was closing. There was no sign of Absentee Boyfriend, I had no idea where we were staying or how we’d get there at the other end, so I contemplated letting the plane takeoff and quietly returning home. I haven’t left the country in over six months, what the hell, another six months won’t make any difference.

The phone rang, ‘Howya? I’m on the escalator.’

‘Where have you been?’ I quietly enquire (not)

‘Buying you something.’

What has come over him, I wonder.

He arrives with sushi for the plane, which makes him sound exotic and sophisticated, he probably is, but it’s not that obvious. He’s just allergic to wheat and airplane food seeing as he sees so much of it. He’d also visited the Sunglass Hut.

‘I bought you a pair.’

My current pair are like the base of a bad frying pan, pointless for seeing, but can cover a lot. I can take hours or days trying to decide on sunglasses, whatever about choosing flowers or chocolates, a man choosing sunglasses is destined for disasater. I’m afraid to open the box, because there’s no way a man could choose a pair that would suit your face, never mind fit it.

I check them out in the metal cubicle on the plane. Well, I take it all back, perfect, big black ones. He could be a keeper.

ABF decided to hire a car as the flight lands too late for us to catch a train. Zurich airport is a very handy one for transfers as long as you land by 7.30pm. I hate driving abroad, especially at  night from an airport, but he says he has it covered.

‘No worries I’ve a great nav,’ he says.

Good for him, carrying a mobile nav device, I think, and as we’re about to disembark,I ask what sort of nav gadget it is.

‘She’s sitting beside me,’ he laughs..

OMG, maps and holidays, recipe for disaster on a 2 hour drive. I tried to find the airport wi-fi while he sorted the paperwork and photographed the directions on my iPad screen, all fifteen twists and turns before even getting out of the city.

Thankfully, there was a GPS in the BMW and while ABF sorted his seat I asked a guy in the carpark to turn the gadget to English. We typed in Davos and from then I just had to keep my eyes on the screen. I’d say that device could have saved many a marriage in the past. I remember with horror trying to direct my ex-husband into central Paris, while he was driving a right-hand car.

We arrive at our destination midnight, starving, but talking, even laughing. There’s no food to be had in the hotel, so we might as well devour the two bars of caramel and sea salt I’d brought for emergencies.

Day One, I feel more in tune with Mrs Moneypenny, as I sit here in Davos. Though there isn’t a  world leader in sight, only the photos in the hotel lobby to give away its famous World Economic Forum in January. The town feels like a 15 mile street of interconnected towns all called Davos something. The main town is Davos Platz, we’re in Davos Dorf and the main ski lift is right next to the hotel, that makes a big difference.

I wouldn’t really call it a ski resort, it’s a working town, not pretty, with a ski lift. The annual global conference is based on putting the world to rights and giving Bono a chance to catch up with Queen Rania of Jordan, while the other delegates get over Christmas and have a bit of a knees up in the Alps. There is a hangover of world peace in the air.

I’m excited at the idea of being in the snow capped mountains, but nervous I might have forgotten how to ski. ABF has been here a few times and seems to know where he’s going, the moment you have confidence in someone, great possibilities materialise. I follow him in a snow plough and gently get back into the turns.

I ski somewhat  uneffortlessly, but stay up, those Body and Mind classes in UCD help, all those hip openers and excruciating weight bearing downward dog exertions come in handy on a slope.

After a couple of hours, no falls or faltering, we ski to lunch, we’re one of the last to arrive, the stalwart skiers keeping to a logical timetable. We spend a lot of time choosing wine and there is something lost in translation. ABF’s gesture of a glass is interpreted as a small bottle, a half bottle of rose and a red arrive, we say nothing and carry on. Maybe we’ll just ski straight to the train and save the skiing for the following day, he says.

We’re the last to leave and ours are the only skis outside in the snow, time for a photo I say as I replace my helmet with a fetching russian furry hat ‘We’ll get one tomorrow,’ he says and heads towards the train.

‘Could we not just do one more run?’ I ask, feeling fuelled by my glass of red. ‘If you really want to, are you up to it?’ he asks with concern.

‘Of course,’ I call, as the helmet swings annoyingly from my backpack, I think it might be handier to put it back on my head and stuff the hat into my jacket.

This time skiing effortlessly down towards the middle station with his nibs calling behind and telling me when to turn as I can’t see the difference between the piste and the deep powder. I ignore him for a second and sail off piste, my skis cross and twist my knee backwards, head is bashed and bounced, oh no I’ve only just put on my new sunglasses instead of the goggles. That is the first thing I think of as I hurtle over and over, downward and slide deeper to the side, Then, I think, good job I put the helmet on as I feel my head bouncing. Other skiers and ABF hover over me to assess the damage, I can’t move my right leg and my right thumb feels like its been prised out of its socket and flicked back in the wrong place

I ask ABF to take off my left ski, the right one is somewhere along the way, and I lie prone in the snow, afraid to move in case I’ve broken something more serious than my leg. I know its not far to the station, so I could possibly hobble. I gently lift my head and see pink spots stain the snow where I lay, I seem to have a nose bleed or a cut somewhere on my face, ABF looks concerned, afterwards he confided he didn’t know how to tell me.  There was a trail of drops, making the snow turn pink.

Oh no, I thought, our first day and this happens, shouldn’t have risked it, I’m visualising a Swiss clinic now, a gash in the head and no dinner. I manage to stand with some help. And then the two of us say it at the same time….

‘The f–king red wine,’ he goes more blue than me with his expletives and laughter.  I’d asked the waiter to put a cork in my red as I couldn’t even finish the half bottle. It was in my back pack, leaking.

Like getting back on a horse, I have to wedge my boot into the skis again and make the last descent, it takes forever to get the boot in, I don’t know how this  man manages to encourage me quietly each time as I slip. The thumb is definitely broken as far as I’m concerned.

All through the day, ABF is Patience Personified, feel free to look upon him as LSBF. Long Suffering Boyfriend, after this.

And that is how the fairytale ended…..Davos from hotel window

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