Continued from here.
I remember the last time I saw my father. It had been on a snowy day in February a month after my Papa had passed away, three years ago. I took him skiing, partly because the snow was good and partly because skiing is one of those pleasurable things that doesn’t require a lot of talking. At that time he was living in California with his new wife Kate and they’d already had a son together and were expecting again. I had not been invited to the ceremony.
I had filled the car with talk on the way there, with school and how I was the top of my class and how I was stuck between joining the ski race team or the freestyle team. He had mostly just listened.
“How’s Kate and the kid?” I had finally asked, pulling my car into the driveway at Stowe.
“They’re great,” he’d answered, “Dylan’s already shaping up to be a son after my own heart. His first word was winner.”
“That’s great!” I had replied, biting down the urge to ask what mine had been.
We’d gotten ready in silence in the shadow of the mountain. He had stared up at the craggy, sullen mass, half cloaked in sheets of fog, leaning on the back of my car, and I had joined him there.
“What’s the hardest track out here?” my dad had asked.
I’d pointed at the woods to the east of Bypass, running haphazardly down into the ravine. He’d pointed to the gaping dent in the tree cover under the Kitchen wall, a white crack in the green foliage that broke through the tree line like a fissure in a cement wall.
“What’s that?” he’d asked.
“A cliff. About 40, maybe 50 feet. Part waterfall. It’s not skiable,” I’d replied, locking the car doors and picking up my gear.
“Not unless you’re a winner,” Dad had said.
After that day, I’d only talked to him once more, when he called me to tell me that his son Dylan had skied a tree line his first day out.
“What did I tell you?” Dad had said over our crackling connection, “He’s a winner, just like his pops.”