Turning Points (Part 2) A Short Story

1980.

I lacked the confidence to shut up and listen. 

The drink helped with the paralyzing fears I was always dealing with. The reliefs came in short bursts of drunkenness and hangovers. I instinctively knew that one day, someday, this way of dealing with fears, would have to end. I just didn’t know when or how.

I feared almost everything, however what I feared most of all was humiliation. The drink always brought humiliation; which accompanied the shame which was followed by the drink. It was a vicious cycle.

I sat transfixed on the most gorgeous of women I had ever seen; an art student, early 20’s, with shoulder length brunette hair.

I feared I’d get an election in front of the class and refocused on someone less appealing.

A bizarre mix of art, horror and dread ensued.

The nude modeling gig came with $900.00, a room at the school for 2 weeks and an unlimited pass card for the school cafeteria.

In 2 weeks it was all over and I was unemployed again. I got a room in a rooming house in town, paying for a month.

During a question and answer session with the Artist in Residence, the brunette shared. “I thought the male model would be more masculine.”

My fears of getting an erection at the modeling gig ended there. The Artist in Residence smiled and said, “Dennis and Jackie have the same body types with the obvious differences of male and female.”

I looked over towards Jackie the female model to see she was still ignoring me

before returning my attention back to the teacher who continued.

“Recognize tone. Dennis is red. Jackie is green… if you get nothing else from this course, recognize tone.”

I looked at Jackie and her large beautiful green toned breasts. I saw tone for the first time. I saw my own red hues. Color was everywhere! My eyes were opened.

I left the mountains and traveled east. I bought paint and left the bars. Eventually the fears faded…

Dennis Mantin

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