The slopes had been so silent, an opportunity to be alone amongst a crowd. The dozen or so kids in my class were always far away, sprinkles of magenta-colored jackets on the white snow. The pure color of the snow, the dark green of the trees, my muffled breath against the top of my jacket. I missed it all as soon as I walked into the restaurant and was hit by a wall of sound.
Coming in from the snow, the restaurant’s vibrant noise and walls of windows were more than my body could take. The room’s wooden floors and decor were flooded with sunlight. I squinted my eyes and followed the rest of the troop to a cluster of round tables at the edge of the room.
Taking a break from the slopes to have lunch in a beautiful ski lodge, you’d think we’d be cozy. Far from it. Faces sunburnt. Lips chapped. Fingertips red and hot. Backs sweating. Our jackets hung off our chairs, and stray gloves were strewn across the crowded floor beneath us.
Our ski instructor went around the table taking drink orders. Getting the undivided attention of a dozen kids below the age of thirteen, though? Not easy.
“Alex, what would you like to drink?” she asked.
Sitting on my left, Alex fizzled with excitement. His freckles and bright brown eyes danced as he told one joke after another. The slopes were no match for his nine-year-old wells of energy. I elbowed him to get his attention, and he settled down to ponder the question carefully, the different soft drinks carouseling through his mind one at a time.
“Mmm, a Rojita!” he decided.
Perplexed, she asked, “Uhh, what's that?"
I felt bad for her. No way she’d heard of Rojita before. Wasn’t she from Vienna? I jumped in to help. “It’s a red soda we have in Nicaragua…"
“Yeah, we don’t have that here. Pick another, Alex,” she answered.
“Mmm, Milca!” he exclaimed. Another red soda from Nicaragua.
She arched an eyebrow and looked at me. Again, I jumped in, “Same thing, different brand… You probably don’t have it either."
“Definitely don’t carry Mi—what was it—Milca? How about water?” she asked. Her patience was thinning by the second as he shook his head. “What do you want then, Alex?"
He snapped his fingers in triumph. “I know! Fanta Roja!”
What was his thing for red soft drinks—and Nicaragua’s for that matter?
Luckily, she’d seen the Fanta’s Fantana models dancing on television at some point and recognized the name. Unluckily, though, the restaurant didn’t carry it, either. The third time was not a charm. Alex settled for a Coca Cola, and I wondered what the jolt of caffeine would do to his energy levels. One look at our instructor, and I knew she was thinking the same. She had her job cut out for her this afternoon.
Skiers zipped past our tables, a thin sheet of glass separating their quiet from our boisterousness. I wanted to get back out there. To the silence. To the solitude.
With a ski trip coming up soon, it was fun to relive one of my favorite childhood memories. Long live red soda. :-)
PS. Everyone's kind comments and encouragement have made #100daysofmicrostories so much easier on my soul. Please keep it coming. *INTERNET HUG*