Apenas te conozco
Que si me muero sea de amor
y si me enamoro sea de vos
y que de tu voz sea este corazón
todos los días, a Dios le pido...
After dark we meandered, side by side, back to the hostel. Jorge and Kristina were in front of us, maybe, or behind. The only light came from the moon gleaming behind our right shoulder, diamond-distant. Mountains gobbled up the frigid glitter of tiny stars. I was wearing two coats; it was the kind of cold that makes you think of eternal wandering and Saint Bernards with collar-flasks, makes you wiggle your toes to be sure you appreciate them while they're still there. He talked about his father, said he had pet canaries at home. His hair brushed the collar of his jacket as he spoke. It was too cold to look at his face.
We got home before them. I skirted the brook beneath the trees; ice broken by my sneaker before nightfall had reformed, stronger than before.
The next morning the sun shone offensively bright. We've found a road, he said. We'll get to Austria in half the distance, better scenery. More fun.
We rounded mountains and mountains, all different and the same. Clouds and lakes reflected each other. Tiny houses, wood lace on wood shingle, stood shuttered and silent. We crept through passes, always climbing, until switchbacks lay on top of one another. I crowed happiness as I watched the snow deepen. We fought over the stereo; why can't you put on something good, like Peter Gabriel, he asked. Tears squeaked out the corners of my eyes as I fell laughing against the window.
The car passed into the shade of the mountain. A wheel caught, began to slide. He cursed, downshifted, cursed again. I gazed out at the tips of the pine trees below us and knew I wasn't going to die.