Monday, April 7, 2014

17 - Welcome to Argentina, Buenos Aires (Pt. 3)

12 Months Earlier

    Allen exhaled, the cold hard wind was making it hard for her to breathe. And her safety attach on’s weren’t helping either. This is crazy, she thought as she peered down at the clear white ocean. I’ve gone completely insane.
    Her palms shook and her vision blurred. She took a shaky step back.
    “You can either jump, or you can think about not jumping for the rest of you life.” Someone advised, making Allen jump into the air. 
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
    I’m going to kill him! Allen thought as she clasped her hands over her chest, heaving long and noisily. After I make sure I don’t die first, of course.  
    “Bend over,” the voice enticed as a gloved hands gently helped her to bend and increase her lungs capacity for taking in air. “Relax. Calm down, your body won’t relax until you do.”
    “If I had died, I’d have hunted you for the rest of your life,” Allen stated as soon as her breathing had become some what normal.
    The man patted her softly on her back and stood up from his crouch besides her. “I’m mighty happy that you didn’t die then.”
    Allen grumbled something and took the offered hand to help her up. “Thank you.”
    The man nodded, she couldn’t really see what he looked like, for he was wearing the same snow suit and goggles uniform as she was.
    “No problem.” They stood in silence. “You're not from around here.”
    Allen tilted her head, “And how would you know?”
    The man shrugged. “I come here alot.”
    Allen nodded. “Yes, sir. This is my first time on the mountain.”
    Allen looked down at the vortex of snow and ice, the same one she would have to sled down if she wanted to get back to her warm bedroom at the Green Lodge. “Oh, yes. Very.”
     “Ever been snow boarding before?”
    Allen shook her head, “No, sir. Not before this weekend. But that was barely a half day ago. ”
    He ruffled his hair under the snow hoddie and studied her. “Here on a dare?”
    Allen hesitated. “Something like that.” She relented, fully expecting the man to tell her to stop being stupid and take a ride down. But he just stood there thoughtfully.
     Finally, the man nodded and let his sled fall to the ground. “My name’s Ethan,” he introduced himself. He then crouched to make the last adjustments on his board.
    Allen watched him raise and step onto the snow board. He pulled his goggles into place and crouched for the last time to secure the clutches around his feet. “Allen Walker.”
    “A bit of advice. The fear is always in here,” he patted his chest near his heart. “Take that away, and this,” he moved his hand to tap his forehead. “becomes more clear. Then it becomes much easier to get your brain to listen to what you have to say. Just don't think of the fear in your heart.”
    With a farewell salute, Ethan pushed his snowboard down the hill.
    “Easier said, than done,” Allen muttered and tentatively stepped on on her own board.

   Taking a deep breath she leaned down to secure the clutches of her own plate bindings. Nervously she tested the grip around her shoes and then gave her jacket a pat down.
    Turning her eyes to the bottom; she noticed Ethan was nearly done. She raised her hand, unnecessarily, to tighten her ponytail in place. “ goes nothing.”

    “You didn’t die,” Ethan pointed out helpfully while they waited for the waitress to return with their hot-coco.
    Grimacing, Allen watched the rest of the patrons of the cafe. “At least.” After Allen had done what she considered the most stupidest action of her life, going down that hill; Allen had been able to stand atop her board for 5 precious awesome moments before she made the wrong curve and had then continued to tumble down the mountain like an overweight meatball.  
    “Thank you,” Ethane smiled as the waiter returned with their order. He waved his hand as Allen held out bills to the waitress. “I’ll take care of this.”
    He thanked the waitress one last time and told her he’d want the receipt.
    “Drink,” He ordered, pointing to her steaming cup. “It will help ease the muscle ache.”
    Allen shook her head. “In a minute. I’m still trying to decide with is more overwhelming. The tear wrenching pain, or the mind-blowing embarrassment.” Suddenly, a thought struck her, and she cowered behind her hands. “God, I hope no one caught that on their phone!”
    Ethane chuckled. “I’m pretty sure you're safe on that account, as for the pain...advil? Take two pills before sleeping and all’s well.”
   Allen resisted the urge to snarl. “Can I ask you something, sir?”       
    Ethane nodded.
    “Why didn’t you stop me? I told you I was up on that hill on a dare, and with almost near to nothing in experience.” She played with the rim of her glass as she continued. “Naturally, a normal human being would have attempted to stop me, or at least try to hinder my actions to some fault.”
    Ethane smiled, “ ‘attempted to stop you’ ‘hinder your actions’ ‘to some fault’ do you always use such formal words?”
    Allen blushed, “Ugh...”
    “And stop calling me sir, I’m barely a couple years older than you.”
    “It’s pretty simple actually.” Ethane barged on ahead without waiting for a reply. “I believed that anything I would have said, or have done, wouldn’t have changed your mind. Not only me, but no one could have persuaded you to get off that hill. In fact, I think it would have just made you more determined to jump down that hill.”
    “Wha-” Allen’s face scrambled as she tried to understand the philosophy behind these statements. “Ugh..ok, I’m lost. How?”
    “If you could have been persuaded to not go down that hill, then you would have done it by yourself.” Ethane took a deep sip from his cup. “You had no prior experience, as you said, and you still managed to get yourself up on that hill. I mean you had boatloads of reasons to not even go up that hill, but you did.”
    “I still don't understand,” Allen acquiescented after a few minutes of pondering.  
    Ethane shrugged. “You don’t have too.”
    I guess that’s that. Allen gulped down the rest of her coco and set her glass down. “Thank you for the drink.”
    “No problem,” Ethane muttered. He raised his hand in the familiar salute at Allen, who had already strapped her bag around her shoulder and was ready to go. “See you around.”
    Allen smiled. “Not likely. Thank you for everything.”

2 Months Later.
    “Why don’t I have to pester you to call your sisters once in a while?” Aunt Mariko demanded of her niece. “What’s wrong with you?”
    Allen chuckled and kissed the older women sloppily on the cheek. “I thought that was a good thing!”
    “How would you know?” She patted Allen’s cheek sweetly before walking around her to the the small dining table. “You’re not the one with nothing to say when all your friends are complaining about their kids. I feel so left out! Do me the favor, and try to act bad sometimes.”
    “Umhm,” Amused, she listened quietly while searching for her upper coat in the gallery closet. “How about getting jailed for smoking marijuana?”
    Mariko flapped her hand at the ludicrous thought. “Let not get ahead of ourselves. We all know you couldn’t do that.”
    “What!” Allen feeling insulted, stuck her chin into the air. “Aunt Mariko!”
    “Oh, don’t get your pride all tangled up, your a wonderful child. All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t mind if you would forget to text me once in a while or stay out late.” Mariko stopped, considering. “In fact stay out late today, and don’t bother texting me about where you're going. I won’t get mad, I promise. Just remember to be safe.”
    “Light on the peanut butter,” Allen commented watching mariko scoop up nutella for her sandwich. “Sorry, can’t do. You already know where I am going. Wicked Mountain. It’s saturda,y remember?”
    “Bumer!” Aunt Mariko exclaimed. “And I’m meeting Madelynn tomorrow for brunch. What am I going to tell her? She’s always complaining about her kids!”
    “You could tell her I ran away to snowboard without your permission,” Allen directed taking a bite of the peanut butter sandwich right out of Aunt Mariko’s hands. “All that snow, height, and it being so dangerous! It would be scandalous!”
    “But you’re not going alone, right?” Aunt Mariko inquired.
    “Jenny is going with me. Like always.” Allen walked over to pick her backpack from the bottom of the stairs. “The info’s on the fridge. I’ve listed her cell phone number, my cell phone number, our twitter accounts, as well as the address and number to the lodge we’ll be staying at.”
    “And your instructor?”
   “Aunty I’ve been skiing every weekend for the past couple months. I think I can handle it now.”
    “You can never be too careful, dear,” Mariko scolded. “And your gear?”
    “In the back of Jenny's car, where I left it last time.”
    Mariko nodded and grabbed ahold of Allen’s chin. Absently she twisted it right, and then left, carefully scrutinizing every detail for comparison when she returned. “We have all the answers, do we.”
    “Sorry,” Allen smiled and hugged Aunt Mariko tightly. “And don’t worry.”
    Mariko returned the hug. “Alright, and I was thinking that idea of yours isn’t bad. I can’t wait to tell her.”
    Pulling back, Allen flashed her teeth in a wide grin. “You might want to put in how you're going to put me straight when I come home.”
    “Of course.” Mariko nodded solemnly.
    Allen opened the door to the outside and heard Aunt Mariko call, “Don’t forget to call!”
    “I won’t, promise.” Allen assured her before walking outside. “Itekimasu!”

    “Ouff!” Allen stretched, reveling in the fresh air. “I’m so tired!”
    “Tell me about it,” Jenny muttered, stretching her hands and reaching for the sky. “It’s a horrible eight hours drive.”
    “But worthwhile,” Allen told her walking to the back of the car. “Trunk keys. I’ll take the gear inside.”
    “No, that’s alright,” Jenny argued but Allen waved off her worries.
     “You deserved it. You did all the driving, it’s only fair.”
   Jenny thought about it. She tossed Allen the keys. “I’ll go sign us in.”
    “Sure,” Allen had already opened the truck and had inserted her head in to inspect their gear.
    “Need help!” Someone shouted from directly behind her, making Allen jump, and hit her head on the top of the truck's door.
    Someone chuckled and then started to fully guaff. “Sorry,...I’m so sorry!”
    Allen turned around and glared at Ethan Crowley. Annoyed, she raised her hand to her head and winced at the pain. “Crowley-san.”
    Ethan chuckles subdued to a grin. “I’m so sorry, I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.”
    “I think you should try it yourself to see how much it hurts,” Allen muttered curtly with a restrained snarl.
    Ethane gulped nervously. “Look, ugh..I’m seriously sorry. Do you need help? Should I go get someone?”
    “No,” Allen eased as her anger waned at the sincere apology. “I’ll put some antiseptic on it later.”  
    “Ugh, sorry,” Ethane muttered again. His eyes wandered to the trunk, “Let me help you with those at least.”
    More than obliged, Allen pointed to the trunk. “Go ahead.”
    Ethane walked over to the trunk and hefted out two bags and put them on the side. He then reached in to take out two snow boards.
    “I’ll be waiting in the lobby,” Allen told him, heading for the lodge entrance, before he could hand her something to carry.
    “, what!” Ethane cried but Allen ignored him and hurried on inside.
    “Where’s the bags?” Jenny asked from the check in counter.
    “By themselves?”
    Allen rolled her eyes at her friend. “Of course not.”
    “Ok.....” Just then Jenny looked up to see Ethane fighting to open the door with two bags on his shoulder and the two snowboards in hand. “Is that our stuff?”
    Allen nodded. “Yes.” She was watching Ethane too and was having trouble holding her laughter in. “You might want to go help him,” she hinted at Jenny.
    “So you’ve been coming back ever since?” Ethane asked and bit into a chocolate donut. After dropping off their bags Jenny had decide to rest and Allen went to see if there was something to eat. She’d run into Ethane again in the cafeteria. “How come?”
    Allen shrugged, she wiped her face with a napkin before replying. “I just never got over the fact that I looked like a sore loser that day.”
    “That you did,” Ethane said but then instantly regretted it. “I mean..ugh-”
    “I looked like a sore-loser?”
    Ethane wished himself to the devil. “Yea, least you managed to get down?”
    “Hilarious,” Allen sniveled, her pride hurt. “But I guess that's why I came back. I just couldn’t leave it like that.”
    “Yea, I get it,” Ethane agreed.
    “I thought you were a regular?” Allen asked him, picking up her bagel and bit into it.
    “I am a regular,” Ethane scoffed. “I’ve just been busy, that’s all.”
    “Uhm, hum.”
    Ethan ignored her skepticism. “Anyway, what was the bet? You never told me. I’m curious.”
    Carefully chewing her bagel Allen considered her answer. Swallowing she reached for the orange juice and gulped that down.
    “I have a feeling you don’t want to tell me.”
    “Ugh, it’s not that,” Allen insisted. “It’s a bit complicated.”
    “Shoot it at me, I like complicated.”
    Allen fidgeted in her seat, “It wasn’t a dare, exactly.”
    “It was more of a self trial of courage...Do you know about the coming of age trials of the American Indians?”
    Ethan scratched his head and sat up. “Yes, I remember reading something about it in school.”
    “Well, it was similar to that.” Allen wrestled with the right words to use. “Um,..the purpose of these trials were to test courage and strength. But it was also a way for the youngsters to challenge themselves and develop self-mastery.”
    “I...was doing something of that sort. Something...ugh, I was troubled by something and I dared myself to go up to that hill and if I lived I would forget about it.”
    “Hugh,” Ethan blinked, bespelled by the total unforeseen answer. “Ok, um...I’m wondering whether I should be in awe or should I be worried.”
    Allen blushed, “It’s not like that.”
    “Oh, yea? Then what’s it like?” Allen didn’t answer and Ethane chuckled. “Calm down, I’m not going to call the ER on you. It’s a pretty interesting theory. I want to hear how you thought forcing yourself to do something dangerous could help you move on.”
    “It wasn’t dangerous!” Allen insisted. Ethane glared. “Ok, yes it was. I thought...if I forced myself to look at reality face on and if I could force myself to go down that would become easier for me to move on, or at least handle it better.”
    “Well, did it?”
    Allen shook her head and leaned herself back into the bench. “No. But I wish it did.”
    Ethan laughed, and patted her hand. “Don’t worry, life’s weird that way.”
    “Are you talking from experience?”
    Ethane considered, “Yes, and no.”
    Frustrated, Allen combed her finger through her hair furiously. “I just wish...I just wish I could get over it somehow!” She looked at her Might-be-friend. “You know what I mean? It seems to work for Anime characters. They seemed to do something dangerous, and bam! They feel good and they’re over their past!”
     “Japanese animation?”
    Allen nodded.
    Ethane thought about this. “Maybe characters can move on, because that certain action is somehow connected to their troubles?” Ethane mused. “Think about it. All their ordeals are somehow connected to their inner problems, and physically getting over that certain ordeal might help them bring closure about what’s bothering them in the inside.”

    “I guess...”
    Curious, Ethan laned back into his seat to carefully scrutinize Allen’s expressions.  “Did your problem have anything to do with snowboarding?”
    Allen shook her head. Without thinking she blurted, “Tiger-san hated snow....”
    Ethane spread his hand in a flourishing manner. “They’re you have it. You just have to do something that in some way symbolizes or connects to your problem with this Tiger dude.”
    “Ugh..I don’t know,” Ethane shrugged sheepishly.

    “Great,” Allen muttered and turning her face towards the window to watch the snow outside.

- Hey everyone! I'm so sorry I posted this so late in the day. I had loads of work to catch-up with and if I had even wavered a bit I would have ended up doing nothing. Gomenisai! I hope you guys enjoy this week excerpt. If you liked my work please don't forget to check out my Page on Google+ H's Blogging Haven where you will be introduced to author authors of the web and a daily update of the new excerpts!

- HT.