The debate over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) continued to rage in the United States when I picked up this anthology. By the time I had finished reading and was ready to begin writing this review the U.S. Senate had already voted to repeal DADT opening the door for the U.S. to join the grouping of liberal democracies around the world that had rid them selves of such anachronistic, ridiculous and harmful policies and laws years ago. I am ecstatic that what was only a few short weeks ago an anthology of, for the most part, contemporary stories about some of the impacts of DADT on gay service men, is now a compilation of what used to be with DADT thankfully passing into history.
Josh Kemsley is mourning the death of his partner Sam. He goes to work, but doesn’t really speak to anyone about how he feels. Sam was his and even in death he doesn’t want to share him with anyone. No one really knows what to say to Josh anyway. After all, it wasn’t like losing a wife. Was it? The cell phone no longer buzzes with messages. There are no more soggy Post-It Notes in his tuna fish sandwich or emailed exploding balloons on his computer screen. Josh embraces the cold numbness that has enveloped him. He prays to the Snow Queen for snow and his prayers are answered. While walking in Regent’s Park the morning of London’s first snowfall, Josh meets Sean and his young daughter Bess. Josh and Sean get acquainted over a warming cup of coffee at the park’s café, later meet for drinks and then arrange a date for dinner. Although both Josh and Sean are in different places in their respective lives, they are both reticent to walk back into life’s fire.