It's not just my birthday today - because, hey, I'm not the centre of the universe. Turns out it's also Paul Blackthorne's birthday. I link to his image Google search there. Because, yum.
Also, it's been three years that Untreed Reads has been selling e-books, and they've got a sale going on since it's their birthday. I happen to have gotten quite a few good short stories from Untreed, and realized there was one I hadn't already discussed.
Greg and Michael are a couple. Like most couples, they've got some minor pet peeves with each other, but one that Greg feels rather entitled to is Michael's having not come out to his mother, though his father does know. When said mother basically self-invites herself for a Christmas visit, their home needs a "straightening" of a different kind, in Michael's eyes - but definitely not Greg's.
There's a wonderful tension here. You love the person you're with, but do you love them enough to - even temporarily - hop back into the closet? In my own past, there were guys I dated who didn't want other people to know, and it was only later, with a bit more life to me, that I realized this was never going to be something I could accept. I had enough people telling me I was less than human - the last thing I needed was a relationship that helped to reinforce that opinion. Things are never so cut and dry when you toss in family, and I liked the realism here from both characters: this is not an easy problem, no matter how "easy" either solution appears to the men involved.
Like always, Jeffrey Ricker gives a lovely short story, and since it's a Christmas tale, I intend to pop it out for a holiday read each year alongside my other holiday readings, for that dreaded retail month where trying to read something new is just far too hard.