All For Love

I spent my twenties like most young bucks, with more ability than sense, and enough energy and potential to set the world on fire. I spent it all on being a Cop, a SWAT Cop, and I was a powerlifter back then, even set a record that stood for a few years. I dabbled in recreational street fighting, the not for a belt kind, just ego and for the sheer fun of a Saskatchewan night out with the boys. I was up for almost anything and was an accomplished all-around trouble maker.

I grew up In my thirties and got all cerebral about life. I wore a suit more often than blue jeans and carried a business card to work instead of a gun. I learned about business and entrepreneurship which translates into winning, then losing it all, then building it back up just to lose it all again, just to built it back up. Humility was the lesson, and the common sense that eluded me in my twenties finally developed amidst the fanatical work schedule, financial butt kickings and the endless lessons learned the hard way. I bought a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, the one I had wanted since I got my motorcycle license at sixteen. Being a slave to entrepreneurship I needed an escape and that bike represented freedom. I also bought my first camera a little after that and declared it was high time I became a photographer. I set my sights on being a magazine photographer in fact. “How hard can it be?”, I thought. I never worked harder, longer nor have I been as frustrated and disappointed as I was teaching myself how to be a photographer.

I found out how hard it could be.

Armed with everything I needed to know in life, I smashed down the door to my forties flying hither and yon taking pictures of everything that moved for the best fitness and bodybuilding publications in the world. It was an incredible time and I met so many wonderful people and did things I could only dream of. Many of those athletes and models are still my friends to this day. Physique sports had been my passion since I was a kid but like most things, seeing it from the outside was a lot different than being a part of it all. I walked away from a brilliant career on principle and haven’t had a split second of regret since. After a handful of divorces and some promising relationships that didn’t turn out well, I found peace and contentment for the first time just being alone.

Then I met this Brazilian girl.

It was a business relationship at first. I shot pictures of her fitness wear in exchange for studio rent. She was honest, fair, loyal and kind. She didn’t want anything from me other than the pictures she paid me to shoot and she was encouraging and fun to work with. We saw eye to eye on most things and laughed a lot. I learned that she was getting divorced and I felt bad for her, I had just gone down that road myself. When the dust settled she decided to move to Las Vegas with her sister to run their fitness wear company. It was partly because I was there and we could shoot all the pictures she would ever need, and partly because San Diego was too expensive. After she moved, we went on a date. Thank you San Diego.

That’s how it all started.

It’s been ten years now and I’m just one tank of gas away from my sixtieth birthday. I married that incredible girl and I’m more in love than I have ever been. I would do anything for Ana Tigre, literally anything.

So…I’m a foster parent raising toddlers. My two dogs are tiny white fluffy ones that look at me like I’m nuts when I throw a ball or insist on them going outside in inclement weather. They graciously allow me to sleep on a tiny sliver of their king size bed each night, which I’m thankful for even though I am not allowed to touch their mother.

I still have the Harley. It sits in the garage and I sometimes touch it as I rush past carrying an array of bags, trash, and kids on my way to our minivan each morning. I don’t fight anymore other than that passive aggressive driving-dance we do with the other gym patrons looking for the closest possible parking spot so they can walk the shortest distance to the treadmill to do cardio. I still have my guns, the last bastion of my manhood, and I always carry one for protection, but tactically I’m a far cry from the hired gun I used to be when I was on SWAT.

And while I still enjoy snapping a photograph here and there for fun, I now make and sell women’s fitness wear under the ample direction and close scrutiny of my wife. And that is why I so enthusiastically accompany my gentle bride to the fashion industry’s grandest convention appropriately called Magic, twice a year in Sin City.

The days we spend at Magic are just that. We skip along the aisles hand in hand in slow motion as our gentle laughter fills the air and we float along on big fluffy clouds of possibility. That’s how Ana would describe it. My recollection is slightly different. I’m always carrying an ever-increasing number of bags filled with invaluable samples and literature that I will be hauling out to the dumpster a couple weeks later. Covered in sweat, I try my level best to maintain visual contact with Ana as she gingerly glides from booth to booth with an enthusiastic look of both consternation and purpose. She is handing me things and conversing with international delegates from far away lands with ease in a vast array of languages.

As we set a course for the next supplier she glances back seeking validation for the good work she is doing. I gleefully celebrate the treasure trove of ideas and possibilities she has unearthed and as she describes in rushed detail what “the girls will love” I smile and agree matching her unbridled excitement. Secretly, I wonder how in the heck I ended up here.

About then I look down at her beautiful legs and the west side of my eastbound bride as she walks gracefully away, her raven hair swaying sensuously in time with my beating heart, and I realize that she has me wrapped.

I ponder that for a minute, shrug and continue on down yet another aisle holding the promise of more bags and trade show handouts, and I start to smile. I could be in a lot of other places doing a lot of other things, but none of them would measure up to being here. With her.

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