a boy looks at his mom. he's wondering what his life will be like ten, twenty years from now. will he get married? have kids? will he be a doctor and save lives? will he write the great american novel?
boy grows up. he has a crush on a girl. he's popular. does well in class. everything is wonderful. he's happy. except when he's not. except when he notices something's different.
boy goes into the military. he's a good soldier. a paratrooper. he jumps off planes, fires m-16s. he's strong, muscular, driven. he's happy with himself. except when he's not. he knows. he's nothing like his fellow soldiers. he feels like a fraud.
his friends talk about the girls back home. they have stories of prom nights that end on the back seat of pickup trucks, heels over head. he has no stories to speak of, so he makes them up. he's a good storyteller. his friends call him "the stud." he feels like a fraud.
he immerses himself further in his duties. excels. he's stronger, faster, more focused than any of his colleagues. he gets noticed. his immediate officer takes a liking to him. becomes his mentor.
they talk a lot, he and his officer. long conversations about life. grown up stuff. they talk late at night when everyone else has gone to bed. at one point, as they're having one of their chats, boy falls asleep. just like that. mid-sentence. he's tired, hasn't slept in days. as he wakes up, his officer is kissing him. it feels good. he no longer feels like a fraud.
they move in together. a nice two-bedroom apartment. things go well. boy learns to live and love. boy learns to like himself. life is good. until it isn't. fights. cheating. yelling. tears. boy moves out.
boy moves on. he has other boyfriends, great boyfriends. he learns the meaning of true love. he gets his heart broken once, then a second time. in the process boy becomes a man.
he goes to college, then graduate school. finishes both with honors. he gets a great job, then a better one. he's good at what he does. the promotions come one after another. then he gets his big break. he's a star now. famous. he's happy with how life turned out. except when he's not.
he's 38, almost 39. he has no boyfriend. hasn't had one in years. he can't remember the last time anyone's made his heart race. what it feels like waking up with someone in bed. weeks turn into months, months turn to years. he's worried. he's worried that if he doesn't do something to break the cycle he'll find himself an old man, alone, with nothing to show for but a stupid career.
he looks in the mirror. there are still no wrinkles. no gray hairs. he looks good. better than good. the years have been kind to him. he should be happy. he should be jumping with joy.
instead he wonders what his life will be like ten, twenty years from now. will he get married? will he have kids? will he ever write that great american novel?