Turning Points (Part 1) A Short Story

I lacked direction. How tall I had grown. I knew so much. I lacked direction and how to stay in touch. Travel west young man.

I met a man with a plan on the train traveling west. He got off the train in what he referred to as a ‘work town.’ It seemed rough or dangerous to me. Alarm bells were going off. So I stayed on the train traveling west.

The Rocky Mountains came into view. I thought of who I’d left behind and grew emotional. I needed a drink and found my way to the bar car.

My money was fading fast. I didn’t care. I just needed the embarrassments to leave me.

I don’t remember leaving the train. The feelings were gone with all sense of past taken with it.

The sun was bright, the temperature was perfect. Cool crisp mountain air. The sense that anything was possible swept through me for the first time. I paid my tent fees on Tunnel Mountain for a week. I hadn’t eaten in days guided by a moral compass based solely in Christian ethics: I would starve before I would steal.

My head refilled with memories of all those high-school friends I had left behind and most of whom I would never see again. We were all out here, somewhere, bumping into whatever came our way. Directionless.

At some point I realized that they all possibly had a plan. That is what they were doing back there. I got it too late.

I revelled in the freshness of it all. The air was perfect indigo blue and the water that ran from the mountains shone a strange emerald green in the river valley below.

I was filling out a job application for a dish washing job at the ‘Arts Center’ when this young woman approached me smiling. She was wearing tight blue jeans and a pink T-shirt that read, Art Matters… She was a beautiful strawberry blonde with green eyes

I looked behind me to see that there was not someone else she might be looking at.

“Would you like a job as a model?” She asked.

“Sure.” I answered. “I need a job.”

“I’ll be right back.” She said.

I put the application down and looked at the bloke beside me.

“Sounds good.” I suggested, hoping for the best hopeful response.

The bloke smiled at me and leaned in. “You know that she means nude, right?”

I felt my face grow red. The bloke laughed and the beautiful strawberry blonde returned.

“Let’s go meet the Artist in residence, shall we? See if you have the job.”

I followed her down a hall.

“Don’t you think I’m too skinny to be a model I asked.”

“No. You will do fine.”

Dennis Mantin

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