I'm at the top, subtly tamping my skis into the snow at the cornice to bleed off my nerves.
I peer over again, for the third time. It hasn't gotten any less steep since I looked last - about thirty seconds ago. There's a foreboding line of rocks cupping the outside of the run, like a tongue lying over sharp teeth, and I can't see anything beyond that.
The tips of my skis hang over the maw, peeking down just as I am.
Wow, this is steep.
You're a bit below me, poised with one leg cocked upslope. The way you're smiling, you'd wait there for me for hours. I've never met anyone so patient.
I look down again.
There aren't any nonexpert runs along this ridge. Getting back to the lift would be exhausting and more than a little humiliating. This is gonna be it, and anyway - you're there.
I breathe, and with the sharp inhale I push. I dive after you, transfixed by the consummate ease of your body over the glinting snow.
At the bottom, you're as jubilant as I am. Your blue eyes flash at me from the shade beneath your goggles, and the wideness of your grin is matched by the wideness of this sky, this range, this sparkling ridge, these possibilities. My ribs are cracking with how much I love you.
Happy Valentines' Day, baby.