“Women and children first!” I blurted, recreating the scene from Titanic. Kristen was rubbing my numb fingers, but there is nothing we could do about the stabbing pain in my feet. It was freezing hell. Flashback to that morning and we were eating croissants by the fire, laughing at our dumb jokes. “TOP OF THE MORNING TO YOU!”
I was back to Navacerrada for a snowshoe hike. It was the Schmid route (same one from 2 blog posts ago). This time there was SO MUCH MORE snow, though. It was not only snow…it was hail, too – a first time for me. I loved it! The snowshoes were a little tough to get used to at first, but we managed. It was a scene from a movie. I felt like I was walking inside one of those snow globes with figures inside.
Based on my newly established standards of Success, once you start asking yourself regularly, “Is THIS My Life?” That’s when you know you’ve really made it. So I was walking on snow, surrounded by snow, covering my face from the hard hitting hail when I saw my life before my eyes. Like a movie, scenes played in my head, faces of loved ones back home, and the things they said to me. Their eyes, their words, the way they looked at me. The scenes played and replayed, and I knew I’d do it all again. I was full of love and gratitude for all the things that hurt me, and all the things that gave me wonder. I have been asking myself that question so many times a day recently: “IS THIS MY LIFE?” Sometimes with an exclamation point. And to think once upon a time I almost settled…Because who would have thought Life, actual real, non-fictional Life could be THIS adventurous.
As we waited to take the bus home hours later, my fingers began to numb. 30 minutes…45…60…”It’s been over an hour…” People were chatting, trying to stay distracted…I, however, felt like I was being stabbed. Two buses passed by…several buses passed by…none of them our bus…Hail fell hard, the wind lethal at times. “I’ve never felt this before…” I told someone. I contained the tears. Raised up near the Caribbean and in Miami’s year long summer, I did not know this kind of physical pain. One bus stopped, and guess what?! We could not get on it. It as full. But I would have sat on the driver’s lap if they’d let me. A second bus…The driver stopped at the end of the now long line, and well…the people at the back of the line who had just arrived to the stop got on it until this bus was full, too. It was torture. The bus driver laughed. People argued. “This is the other side of humanity,” Kristen said. “Women and children first!” I blurted. “This is like that time there were not enough boats on the Titanic. When’s the next bus coming?” “20 minutes.” I swallowed the tears. The two hour wait was funny later, though…when we were finally on our way home, changing our cold, wet socks for dry ones and putting my feet against the bus heater. I could not feel my toes, and the bottom of my feet felt like they had been cut open.
My body was ravenous for calories. I needed all the fat I could get, so Kristen and I went to Lizarran. This is a typical franchise here, and they have wonderful huevos rotos (my favorite dish from Madrid!). It is pretty much a ton of French fries, with fried eggs on top, and one other topping like chorizo, ham, shrimp, gulas. Amazing, over indulgent, wonderful meal to celebrate the survival of our limbs.
The wonder and joy of the hike made me remember my troubles fondly, like distant, melancholic memories. But the stabbing pain from the cold made me completely forget every one of my troubles…Because really, your heart cannot ache with nostalgia when the rest of your body is in freezing pain. Yet, I’d do it again. All of it.