True Love

Finding love above 3000m of altitude, in the midst of high snow and steep mountains, is a rare and precious thing. To keep it despite the most objective dangers and personal pitfalls is another story.

It had been a beautiful winter, one of those that had made the reputation of the place.
Countless snowstorms had come at regular intervals to cover the entire mountain range with a thick white coat. Thus at the beginning of May, at the top of the old cable car, the party was in full swing for the closing of the resort.

The old station, located at more than 3000m at the top of a sugarloaf of rock and snow, had taken on the appearance of a rebel citadel for the inevitable return of spring. Skiers and boarders had come from all over the Alps to meet this one last time, to celebrate, and to share the pleasure of great descents past and future.

On the terrace, a heterogeneous crowd of riders danced in ski or snow boots to the sound of wild and unbridled electro rock, orchestrated by some English friends. Groups formed around a bottle of white wine or a joint, and each new arrival of the old cabin poured a new wave of revelers. Some stayed there and joined in the jubilation, others attacked the long descent of the stairs to the snowy delights below…

At one point I felt the need to get away from the crowd, the music and the laughter. My steps had naturally led me to the stairs, which were still a place where people could pass by without being crowded. Leaning against one of the railings, I had turned around to watch the party and enjoy the moment, leaving the role of actor to become a spectator. This is the kind of moment at a party when you step back to take a breath and enjoy life while watching your friends have a blast.

I grabbed my skis and began the sonic descent down the metal steps, and it was here at the first landing that we first crossed paths.

She was sitting a little apart… When she raised her head and our eyes met, I melted. Her eyes had the bluish color of the purest ice. Time stopped and then she lowered her eyelids and smiled.

We met again. We were getting to know each other on the skis and après, and what we discovered about each other enchanted us… Then one evening in a bar in the “rue de la soif”, the music was so loud and our heads so close to each other that our lips met and we kissed, shyly at first, not daring to believe in the magic of the moment, then passionately, all restraint having shattered in a world that had just turned upside down.

More than ten years have passed since that famous evening and after having gone through everything a couple can go through, and even more if you look closely, I still enjoy waking up next to her deeply asleep. Listening to her steady breath and marveling that she stayed.

The coffee ceremony at the beginning of most of our days allows us to face the thousand little things of everyday life that can undermine the foundations of the strongest passions. And also, it must be said, the experience and sharing of extraordinary moments, both good and bad.

Swept away by an avalanche during a snowstorm in the north of Norway, I will never forget her cry of distress and fear as we were taken away, and the horrible feeling of helplessness that made all fear disappear from my stomach and also made me deeply disgusted with myself for having brought her into this situation. We got out of it without a scratch, just the loss of an ice axe and a good personal lesson that I ruminated for a long time, a miracle.

Nervous at the line up during a strong autumn swell where we should never have gone in the water. She had followed out of love, to play the game, for the challenge. Coming back to the beach was a survival exercise where she had broken her leach in the impact zone…

The errors of timing or appreciation of the snow on a steep slope where the slightest mistake on the edge would have sent us to hell; she fell down the slope and I witnessed my worst nightmare… Because extreme romance in practice inevitably leads to discovering the fear for the other. When you can’t do anything more to help and it’s better to shut your mouth and let her do and manage what she is there for.

But also a thousand simple joys and happy moments, in a canyon or during beautiful parties with our friends, our families, a life rich of sharing and true moments. Like this LSD ride in the wildness of the Moab desert canyons where we traveled together light years away from our comfort zone… I remember that it took us a long time to come back from those far away places.  The nights under the stars in our hammocks, our eyes and minds swimming in the cosmos of our Aragonese summer nights… How could I have imagined, in spite of the intensity of this first look, the life we were going to live afterwards.

Any resemblance with events or characters that existed may be purely coincidental.

Par @bruno_compagnet

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