Fresh Paint

Posted on: July 1, 2008

Chris Simmons

He has been a mentor, a model, an example to emulate. He’s strong in a thick way " thick arms and thick legs attached to a thick trunk that has size without fat. His face and hands are weathered from years in the mountains. He has earned it all, a guide’s badge and a company. And a marriage. He has everything every guide hopes for.

Today he looks broken and for the first time in memory he seems smaller, beaten down. His wide shoulders slump, his eyes hide in hollows, and his whole countenance is overshadowed despite the clear morning in front of the coffee house.

He’s moved into the old apartment attached to his company’s office. Memory pictures three small rooms in an old house full of cobwebs and dust, storage boxes and files and old retired climbing equipment.

“It’s not so bad”, he says, sipping his coffee and not meeting your eyes. “I installed a wood stove, resealed the windows, and put up a fresh coat of paint.”

You can’t help but wonder if he’s still talking about the apartment.