Illustrations // Kieron Black
I have told this story many times. It has reached such a status among friends that I am often requested to recount it, particularly if there is a newcomer around. I now fear that it circulates behind my back, like Chinese whispers, gathering falsehoods and damaging my already questionable reputation, so I’m taking this opportunity to lay bare the truth and formally set any legends to rest. Beware; it is not for the faint-hearted. My mother consoled me in the aftermath, telling me I had just endured the worst part of childbirth, and the nickname “Stitches” still sticks among friends. It contains graphic imagery from the start, although (you will thank me later), no flash photography.
“What happened was very simple. I fell while getting off a chairlift.”
It begins on a family ski trip. It also happens to be first and last ski trip my family was ever to take – I’m fairly sure this wasn’t my fault, but who can tell. My family are far from natural skiers, so there was a real jumble of abilities, but I found a decent riding partner in my cousin who was a reasonably experienced snowboarder. As it turned out, my choice of riding comrade was not so sympathetic in times of need.