There’s something we possess in our teens and twenties that gradually disappears with time. The ability to look into the unknown ahead of us and imagine that all kinds of things are possible. As we become older and take on responsibilities and move forward into the mundane things of reality, we lose bits and pieces of those dreams. The castle or mansion becomes and apartment or condo, the champion steed a cat that curls at our feet or a dog that begs to be walked. Our Prince Charming turns out to be a succession of poor choices and the happily ever becomes sitting alone with your popcorn and Netflix. That’s life and whether we like it or not, we have to settle for the hand we’re dealt. The fire that burns so wildly in our youth becomes a flickering ember.
I’d reached that point about four years ago. My life had gone through another upheaval; everything changed again and I was once more cast back into the world, more jaded, drained of enthusiasm, and no longer looking forward to what might be as much as looking behind me at what could have been.
I’m a determined cuss, though. I decided that I no longer needed anyone in my life. That this change was my chance to own myself for the first time; to take care of me; do the things that mattered to only one person – myself. I wasn’t giving up, but I also wasn’t expecting a fairy tale ending anymore. I was alone. I intended to stay that way. Emotionally, it was the safest bet.
I had my photography and my writing to keep me busy. It didn’t matter if I ate dinner alone, drank my morning coffee naked without brushing my hair or seeing anyone off to work. The difference between the ideals of youth and the realities of middle age is… we learn to settle.
The idea of becoming a mentor to a nineteen-year-old apprentice had never, in the course of my life, crossed my mind. That’s tantamount to being a teacher and, being chronically ADHD, I’ve never had the patience. Over time, I’d developed an immunity to teenagers. I ignored them. They were loud, obnoxious, impatient. To be, they made me jealous because they could still look at tomorrow as the future and still dream of castles and princes.
My apprentice, Dirk forced himself on me. By that, I mean he was insistent to work with me as a photographer to speed his learning process. I agreed for two reasons. I had absolutely nothing going on in my life and he intrigued me as someone I’d like to photograph. He was smart to the point of being wily, a tenacious student, and oblivious to the fact that without trying he insinuated himself into almost every facet of my life. I think that’s how most friendships begin. There’s never one spectacular ah-ha moment when you realize someone is your friend. It happens over time, bit-by-bit, day by day, conversation by conversation, and then lo and behold, you discover that when they aren’t there something doesn’t feel quite right. They become someone important to have around. Dirk had become that. My friend.
He did something else that was extraordinary, though. Dirk had incorporated himself so much into my world that every project I worked on, whether photography or writing, he felt the need to contribute. Before I knew it… he was suggesting things I should have thought of myself, or proposing alternatives that made my thinking go in a completely different direction. He was, in fact, inspiring me. His ideas were igniting new sparks in my imagination. And suddenly I was creating as I’d never done before. That was when I realized our friendship and his apprenticeship had graduated into something else… he’d become my muse. A living, breathing, never-ending pest that prodded me forward where I normally procrastinated.
Dirk is like a tugboat. I have no other way to describe him. He wasn’t going to let this older ship dry dock itself and sit idle. He dragged me back onto the ocean of life. He made me see there were more waves to ride, more ports to see, and endless adventures for all of us – no matter our ages. But more than that, he helped me to look forward and see a future again. Life doesn’t just stop because we grow older or things change. Change is what dreams are made of… and I was dreaming again, and looking forward to the next wave. Wherever it may take me.
About the Book
Length: 38 Pages (Kindle)
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Links: Amazon || Smashwords || Goodreads
Blurb: He’s a middle-aged, newly single, gay photographer starting life over. Along comes a freshly out nineteen-year-old, irreverent free spirit who wants to be his apprentice. Mismatched by more than a generation, what could possibly go wrong? Everything! And it’s AWESOME!
A “Muse” ing: Most authors struggle with the voices or “muses” in their head when writing. Tuning that voice out becomes a little more challenging when your muse is a real-life nineteen-year-old who inhales espresso and turns out ideas at light speed. Danger Will Robinson!
Daddy and The Rent Boy: In selling something, advertising is half the battle. That can become hazardous when you’re in the company of an irreverent walking billboard.
About the Author
I’m a single gay man living in the Midwest. I write because I consider myself to be an old-fashioned storyteller. I’ve been a photographer for half my life, specializing in male romance cover art. My dream is to one day live on the beach with my dog and continue to tell tales that inspire and entertain.
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