“From a Journey” by Hakan Lindquist from Best Gay Romance 2012 (Cleis Press). Edited by Richard Labonté.

Why is it I don’t run across this author’s name and works everywhere? This is amazing, beautiful writing. Oh, perhaps it’s because it had to be translated from Swedish? Perhaps it’s because when you reach the end of the story and search for information about him that information, too, is mostly in Swedish? There’s a novel, translated into English, now on my “must read” list. I’ll take everything I can get and hope and pray for more.

This is an understated, gorgeous story about three men: the narrator, his partner Daniel, and Eric, the man who eight years earlier was taken from him, suddenly and unexpectedly, by death. The narrator addresses Daniel as if in the midst of writing a letter to him, wherein he records his thoughts about their relationship, and about the time he spent with Eric, and tries to capture what he thinks it all means. He is almost painfully aware, awake, and appreciative of everything around him, and his attitude is summed up nicely near the end:

…while I tried—and still try—to make you, make us, look upon our limited time here as a challenge to experience something exciting and significant.

Indeed.

It should be mentioned that a quote from Derek Jarman’s Garden introduces this piece. A day after World AIDS Day, we should stop and wonder what more that artist could have shown us, had his time not been so cruelly limited by disease.