White Nightmare

"I woke up out of my mind, covered in cold sweat. Someone, realizing the torment I was suffering, had put me to bed and was calming me down with words I still remember. 'Don't be afraid, we're with you. You're delirious.'"

"I see everything clearly in spite of all the years that have gone by. The episode remained anchored in my memory, as one of the most emotional moments of my life," wrote Clementina in her private diary.

"That year I received my teaching certificate in history and geography, subjects I had had a passion for since I was a child. I got to know all the places with their names and details, but there was one special one in which I was constantly thinking. I always wanted to visit mountains with snow; the ski resorts and I had always wanted to be one of those who took part in that sport."

"I bought magazines, collected brochures with photographs of winter scenes and thought that one day I'd arrive at my heart's desire."

"But then I fell very ill," continued the diary, "from a fever that kept me in bed for two months. I only remember inescapably like reality the faces of the people who took care of me."

"Imagination, associated with the high fever, brought about hallucinations and nightmares every day, some very short, but others very long."

"I suddenly found myself," continued the diary, "traveling in Europe. My goal was to ski. The fever fantasy carried me, with a group of young people, to the right place."

"In the hallucination at that moment, I saw myself together with my companions in the ethereal journey taking ski classes with several teachers."

"The instructor told us that the next day we'd be starting to ski alone in the snow. I was inside my dream, very restless, and I was one of the first to reach the lodge and I still remember the color of the equipment used to identify us."

"The test began," continued Clementina's narrative, "And I started down the descent normally but very cautiously. Suddenly, I felt a chill when I realized I was alone and helpless in that immense white surface surrounding me. I had lost the path and I didn't know how to get back."

"In my delirium I tried to find a solution; suddenly I saw distant point, and it seemed to me that it was the lodge where we were waiting."

"I pushed off with impetus and happiness in a trail that pushed my condition and strength to the max. I never reached the end. Suddenly I began to feel panic. I shouted out so someone could hear me, but my voice got lost in the silence of the mountains. It seemed to me that the cold and the solitude of those white mountains entered inside me and froze my blood until I turned into an ice statue."

"My panic turned to terror when I determined that the mountains ended in a final dropoff. I struggled from the right to the left trying to avoid it. My ski pole broke off and I lost my balance. I only remember that I was a huge white ball rolling up to the deep, clear cliff that I tumbled dizzily over."

"Several days passed until I was able to break free from the confusion between delirium and reality."

"Once reestablished, I had the habit of telling my experience, with details, as if it had really happened, until the living horror of it started to erase itself."