Andy’s Mom sends him to his childhood home to check on the house for Christmas — and he can’t avoid memories of the past, especially when Jake shows up on his doorstep to spark a fire in the unheated house.
When Andy arrived at his old home his first visit is to his favourite fishing hole where he and his best friend Jake swam and played as kids and teenagers. It was an emotional journey as it brought back memories of growing up that he wanted to forget, such as when he first realized that he was attracted to boys and his fantasies about Jake as they swam in their special spot. Returning to the house Andy realized that the furnace light was off and it refused to cooperate as he struggled to get the heat going. He was preparing to spend the night in the freezing cold house when there is a knock at the door; he opens it to find the man he had been in love with all those years ago, his best friend. Jake had seen the lights from his house and dropped by to check that everything was OK since he knew that Andy’s parents were away.
Andy couldn’t get over the changes in his friend’s appearance. Gone was the carefree, laughing Jake – now he looked years older. As they try to find common ground it soon became clear that Jake wanted answers for Andy’s sudden departure from home, and the fact that he had never returned, even for holidays. When Andy explained that he left home because he thought Jake was married and had been for 5 years, he was overwhelmed by Jake’s response. It seems that Jake was also gay, had always loved Andy and had never been married. They left to stay at Jake’s house and reminisced over the changes that had occurred in their lives. When they eventually made love it was even better than Andy thought it would be and he realized that the man of his dreams was a reality.
I enjoyed this story as it contained some elements that I really liked. The characters of Jake and Andy were realistic and for such a short story there was enough content to keep me interested as the plot developed. There is one comment I would like to make that had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the story. The author uses a lot of euphemisms for body parts and what I consider to be very flowery language in different areas of the book. It seemed to me that simpler prose would have worked just as well and would not have detracted from the story — I don’t think I have seen the phrases “iliac furrow” “limned with ecstasy” “spurting liquid fire …. and I followed him over the abyss” used recently in an erotic romance, but maybe that’s just me.
The Long Way Home is a good story with enough emotional content to satisfy readers of the genre. I found the characters well developed and sympathetic and the plot was a satisfactory walk down memory lane for Andy and Jake.