Two Chances by Stephen Kessel
Tim’s partner, Nick, left him with their dream home and the “kids”—their four dogs. Now, after more than a year of long hours training staff in their franchised dog grooming business, and living alone, perhaps Tim is ready to take a chance. And perhaps there are some surprises in store for him if he does; though time has also taught him what really matters. And it’s not casual sex he wants.
After reading the author’s stunning piece of work Velvet Interrogation (reviewed HERE!) I tackled the shorter story in Two Chances. This is a sweet, sad, and touching story about recognizing true emotion and relationships. The writing pulls you immediately into the story with humor and includes a wealth of emotion without being too flowery or sappy. The sentiment is clear and engaging without going over the fine edge too much. Those looking for an unusual short story offering in gay romance should check this out.
The story is told from a few different perspectives but the main character is Tim. Tim was partnered with Nick for several years, owning a house, dogs, and a very successful business together. Until one day Nick decides he’d rather be with a young, hot, 21 year old from Sri Lanka. Tim, devastated from the breakup, is introduced to an American which leads to new possibility. At the same time, Tim is coming to realize what he wants from life and who exactly he wants to spend it with.
The characters are somewhat thin, given the short nature of the story, so none of them can really be fleshed out. However the various men introduced all have a purpose and Tim really shines with his aura of sadness and regret. The story is really about Tim’s choices and his hope for a second chance at love. The ending is a question and just a thin hope that Tim will get his chance and finally be happy. Although Tim is a deeply sympathetic character, the reader comes to understand that Tim’s own choices have led to his situation. Tim was in a happy relationship that he left to be with Nick, devastating the other man. Thus Tim’s ironic situation appears very much like karma. Tim is not a bad person, nor is anyone really in the story, just made his own set of bad choices.
I don’t want to give away too much but be sure to pick this up. The writing has an engaging quality that pulls you into the story and makes you care about the various men. The ending is a question of hope so there is a somewhat sad aura permeating the story from start to finish, but well worth reading. Kessel’s writing is different and descriptive without being too wordy. The prose is evocative with a quick pace while never relying on stereotypes. Check this out, it’s worth reading.
Get it HERE!