First Impressions

Its early in the morning. It says 7:30am on my car clock, which means its closer to 8 O’clock, but the clouds don’t bare the sunlight giving any clue as to the actual time. Walking down the road towards the docks is a girl wearing a daypack. She seams confident in her destination and yet for some ethereal reason out of place. Her blonde braids rest lightly on her shoulders as she makes her way down the road. And I slow my car down as I pass, tempted to offer this stranger a ride. Something in the way she moves makes me think that she’ll deny my offer and so I move on past, never really seeing her face, ambling down the road towards work and the 12 day trip I have due to leave in a couple of hours.

Thus were my first impressions of Amy, the girl lounging next to me, soaking up the afternoon sun on the glacier after an excellent morning of climbing. She lays out on her ridge rest sleeping pad with a small pile of Trail Mix on her Capilene covered belly.

She talks of avalanche rescues, melted M&M’s, and wetting the bed as a child. Amy was born June 29th, 1981 to an upper middle class family in suburban Michigan just outside Ann Arbor. She was a dancer in her younger life now turned mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing hard woman.

Amy struggles in her past – present dichotomy to live the hard woman lifestyle while maintaining the dancing queen attitude of her youth. That is to say. She also enjoys thoroughly the great liberties afforded to her as a pretty girl in an industry dominated by men.

Amy has regrets. Doesn’t everybody. She struggles like we all do to find companionship; looking for love in all the wrong places. Its almost comforting to see the opposite sex struggling through the same trials and tribulation I have felt so many times. She shrugs of emotion most of the time staying in character. She writes in her journal, telling me that she “writes about emotion as it pertains to just one event to keep from going on for pages.” And I wonder what she fills those many pages with.

Later in the evening we talk of dancing, of traveling, and of Alice in Wonderland. I wonder if that’s how she feels; like Alice, wandering down the rabbit hole in search of a way home; If each conversation is just a means to fill the vacant time.

As the sun sets on another day – twilight fading into the cool Alaskan darkness, the enigma remains, and our romantic comedy plays on. We crawl into our books and pour words into our journals. Equally alone, neither having risked a piece of ourselves, we retreat back to the comfortable safety of silence. Apart.

— fin —

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