“Here comes the sun, doot-n do do,” sang the phone from an inside pocket of Angela’s dad’s red parka.
“Hello?” Dave said loudly over the roar of the crowd at the bottom of the chair lift. Angela could hear a muffled voice issuing from the phone that sounded vaguely familiar. “Oh hi, Al. Is everything okay?” Then she knew where she had heard the voice. It was Lilly’s dad.
Lilly was Angela’s archenemy at school. How she hated Lilly and her wretched cousin Ellie!
“It’s was so unfair!” she grumbled to herself. “They are good at everything and get everything they want. Neither of them has to take care of their stupid siblings when they get home from school. They both have parents who are really there for them, not parents that leave for work at seven in the morning and return at eight in the evening. Hmmph!” Feeling very sorry for herself, Angie pulled herself back to the present in an effort to eavesdrop on the conversation.
“Okay bye,” Angela’s dad said, “See you soon.”
“What happened?” Angela asked, trying and failing to sound concerned.
“Well,” her dad answered with a grave look on his face, “Ellie and Lilly have gone missing.”
“Oh.” she said, “Okay. So what to we do?”
“I will radio the Ski Patrol and we will head out to look for them before it gets dark.”
“Does Al have any idea where they are?” Angela asked.
“He knows that they are somewhere on Blackcomb and he thinks that they are lost somewhere near, on or below the Blackcomb Glacier run.”
At the top of the Showcase T-bar, Angela undid her skis and started hiking to the Blackcomb Glacier trail. She followed her dad so that she didn’t have to make steps in the slowly deepening snow. How she hoped that she would find Lilly and Ellie. She was thinking of all of the grief she could give them at school. She reached the top of the hill and stepped back into her skis.
“Angela I’m talking to you. Can you here me?” Dave asked. Angela had been so busy fantasizing that she hadn’t heard her father talking to her.
“Oh, sorry,” Angela answered, “What were you saying?”
“I was saying that you have to follow me during this search. Okay? So everywhere I go, you go.”
“Yeah” Angela said. She took a deep breath and thought to herself, “Angela this is your first rescue. You should change you attitude.” Without further ado, she raced down the hill.
“Did you see anything?” Dave asked the other ski patrol at the trees.
“Not a trace,” said one.
“Nothing,” said another.
“Ruff!” said one of the Search and Rescue dogs. Angela chuckled and bent down to give the big black lab a pet.
“Angela!” Dave said in an exasperated voice, “Don’t pet Hayley! We are in the middle of a Search and Rescue right now and it is not time to play with a working dog.” “I shouldn’t have brought you in the first place,” he muttered under his breath.
Angela stood up indignantly and started to open her mouth to speak, thought better of it and closed it again. Acting up would certainly not a good idea in this situation, she realized. After all, she was not a member of Whistler-Blackcomb’s famed Search and Rescue squad. She was just along for the ride and wouldn’t be invited again if she were to act in any other than a grown up manner.
Dave conferred with the other members of the team, gave some orders and they were off again.
Before heading out he added, “Now Angela, I want you to stay right behind me okay? I don’t want you getting lost. The last thing we need is another skier to rescue!”
Angela was so mad that she could have kicked something. Her dad was always so annoying! If he wasn’t reminding her do to some chore, he was criticizing her about something or other.
“Angela, you aren’t following me. You need to be right behind me okay?”
“Fine!” she said grumpily and glided over the snow to her dad.
She felt like being rebellious, and when she glimpsed a cat track up ahead, she had an idea.
“Dad,” she called “I think I’m getting a blister so, umm, can I stop and put a band aid on it?” She had always been a bad liar.
“Fine, but don’t take too long and please follow right away.”
“Okay, I’ll be right there,” she called. She waited for the group to ski out of view and then quickly sped down the cat track.
“Maybe Dad was right,” Angela thought. “Maybe I should have followed him.” It had been twenty minutes and, from what she could see, there were no tracks. “Then again,” she thought, “it has been snowing for an hour and an half so any tracks Lilly and Ellie might have left would be covered up now.”
Angela coasted down a small hill and looked up second too late to see the tall sapling in her path. She swerved but caught an edge and fell over awkwardly. Just then a sharp pain ripped through her right knee and she cried out. It started to feel weak and warm. She tried to stand up but her knee snapped and bent horribly in the wrong direction and she cried out again. It hurt so much!! She leaned over and felt her knee. It was swelling, and fast.
Angie winced. She had seen these symptoms before on other skiers and they all pointed to one thing – a blown anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. She remembered of all of the stories that her dad had told her about his multiple knee surgeries, how when you tore your ACL, you had to get surgery. The surgeon would cut into your knee and put screws into your leg bone to secure the new ACL. And then there would be weeks of painful physical therapy. Dave nicknamed his own therapist, who was a perfectly nice lady from what Angela could tell, his “Physical Terrorist” because of all the torturous exercised she had led him through to re-strengthen the muscles around Dave’s injured knee. Arghhh!
Tears of fear and pain rolled down Angela’s cheeks. She buried her face in her hands. Then all of the sudden it hit her. She was alone and in the middle of nowhere with a torn ACL. It was snowing and no one knew where she was. She certainly couldn’t ski herself out of this one!
Angela’s sobs grew even more fierce for a time, but one can only cry and wallow in self pity for so long. Gradually her breathing returned to normal. She wiped her eyes, took a Clif bar and some water out of her backpack and started to think about what to do next. It was only then that she heard and saw some movement in trees ahead. She looked up and saw Lilly and Ellie walking towards her in the snow.