Continuum by George Seaton is a beautifully written short story that is part of the Diversity Short Story Collection published by Untreed Reads focusing on minority voices. The overarching theme of this story is the continuity of time and love.
The story is quiet in its essence and written with little plot or contextualization. Instead, the author provides the reader with an intimate glimpse of the narrator’s twenty-eight year life and relationship with his partner David, through the lens of their quotidian activities. As they take their daily two-mile walk through their Northwest Denver neighbourhood and David jabbers on about the latest relationship drama of their friends, our protagonist lets his mind wander to the past, and back to the period during which he and David first met. It was the early 1980s, a time when the carefree days of the Big Party were soon to come to a crashing halt with the advent of HIV/AIDS.
“My mind is lost to the memory of the Big Party. How do I adequately convey a sense of what it was really like during those times of … revelation, liberation, and senseless (primordial?) devotion to the fuck? I can only try. It was at the tail end, the closing days of the Big Party that my life with David began.”
The protagonist is quite the witty and at times sardonic raconteur as he tells us of his initial meeting of David and that somehow despite his happy devotion to “the fuck,” David became the one – the forever one.
The writing seamlessly alternates between present and past without interrupting the overall rhythm and flow of the story, as the author deftly captures the narrator’s moments of wistful nostalgia for those heady post-Stonewall days of revelation, liberation and sexual freedom, and then the sense of pain and loss at the memory of the many beautiful young men who would succumb to the disease he refers to as the “bogeyman.” But the longing for those bygone days of freedom is a fleeting one as the narrator contemplates his deep love and commitment to David, and the sense of comfort and companionship they bring to one another, even though he admittedly remains unsure of the meaning of love.
“Love hurts, or so the song says…Yes, and love laughs and love cries and love is silent and love is cacophonous and love is ugly and love is petty and love is all there is and love is lacking and love is fulfilling and love is a tear and love is a smile and love is a nod and love is a mystery and love is known and love is unknown and love is brilliant and love is stupid and love is bright and love is dull and love is tough and love is easy and love is … a many-splendored thing. And yes, enduring love is a prideful thing.”
I found Continuum to be an incredibly moving story, at once both bittersweet and life affirming. In some ten pages, the fluid quality and emotional depth of Mr. Seaton’s writing transports the reader by capturing the essence of these two characters, their life together and the heart and soul of their relationship. For anyone who has silently glanced over at a beloved partner or spouse wondering, “why do I love you so?” this story will resonate.
This is my second story by this author and I readily admit that he has a new fan in this reader as his writing both excites and inspires me. I highly recommend this story to everyone. For those who remain unfamiliar with the writing of George Seaton, Continuum is an excellent place to start.
NOTE: This review was originally published online by Rainbow Reviews.