Brooke: Jack’s cookie a sweet serendipity in Breckenridge (column)
Special to the Daily
Alone and having completed several laps on the slopes already, I looked forward to some company. I pulled a quick hockey stop, unclicked and leaned my skis against the rack. “Tea time” I thought, meandering inside the Vista Haus.
Lifting off my helmet, a chill spread across my shoulders, triggered from sweat. My thighs, pinched from deep snow, made sitting down feel like a reward. I cupped my pink-cheeked face with my hands, thinking, “Good day out there.” Simple, fulfilled thoughts were all I mustered on days like this.
Then, a cheery-eyed man leaned into me, holding a cookie that he had just purchased. “Want a bite?” Reluctant to share food with a stranger, I replied, “No, I couldn’t.”
“Chocolate chip …” he said.
My stomach growling, I smiled, “Well, maybe a nibble. Thank you.”
Indulging for a moment, I wondered what were the odds of a man offering me a cookie, while skiing? My two greatest loves intertwined!
Intrigued by him, I asked “What’s your name?”
“Jack,” he replied.
After settling into more tea and conversation, he asked if I would go for a run with him. Amenable to his suggestion, I tossed my tea cup and followed him outside.
Leading me far across the mountain, we stopped at the old, two-seated Chair 6 lift. He seemed to know his way around, as he pulled the safety bar down over my arms, compelling me to move closer to him.
From the lift, I followed him into Contest Bowl, using a short-cut that I thought only locals knew. At the top, I plunged into the familiar line that I loved. Like a cat and mouse, he followed, racing along with me through the moguls. When we reached the plateau, he asked “T-bar?” So excited to have a ski partner, I shouted, “Sure!”
After another run through Horseshoe Bowl together, my friend from Nebraska called, saying she was at the base. “Jack, I have a friend waiting and should get going.” I paused, hoping that he might ask for my phone number, but I felt only the cold, silent air. Embarrassed, I sped off into the trees to rendezvous with my friend.
The next morning, my intrigue with Jack lingered. I asked my Nebraskan friend, “What if I went back to the same spots, at the same time? Do you think he could be there again?”
Sarcastically, she responded, “It’s 10 below! No guy is worth frost bite!”
But, I had to follow my gut. I skied on the slopeside of love and possibilities, charging all the way!
Once I reached the lodge, I slowly opened the doors. I was prepared for disappointment but hoping for another ski partner, as exhilarating as the day before. Looking around, I didn’t recognize anyone.
Then I felt a small tap over my shivering shoulders. Wiping frost from my nose, I turned around and there stood Jack, holding another cookie, just for me.
Taryn Brooke lives in Breckenridge.
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