Today I’m gonna talk about Trapped.
Trapped is not my usual kind of book, part of that was deliberate, part of it just turned out that way. Back in 2017, I was talking to Debbie McGowan, I can’t really recall what was said, but together we decided the world needed more stories featuring 50+ characters – and it does, damn it!
One of the biggest reasons I’m writing gay characters is that I believe we need more diversity in our books. I most often write M/M and I know some will sneer at that, claiming it’s objectifying and not helping matters at all since it’s mostly straight women reading the genre – that’s one opinion and you’re entitled to have it. I believe in this day and age when politicians are trying to steal both women’s and LGBT rights away we need all the diversity we can get and if part of that is in the form of romance books then so be it.
Trapped isn’t a romance book, though. There is love, it’s about a married couple, but it doesn’t follow a romance arc. When I started writing it, I meant for it to be about a married couple in their fifties perhaps. It soon turned into a married couple at the end of their journey. They’ve been together for forty-five years and have now been separated because one of them is in a nursing home.
So, was it a smart story to write out of a marketing perspective – no. But, to me this story is important. This might come as a surprise to some, but gay people grow old too and they don’t stop loving their partners when they do.
“Stop looking at me!”
It took me a second too long to look away.
“I said stop looking at me! You think it’s all right for perverted old men to come here and ogle me?”
“No, of course not. I wasn’t ogling you.”
“I know what I saw.”
I sighed. The sting of the heron picking at my heart made me sink even lower. I shouldn’t have come, but there hadn’t been one day when I hadn’t. I couldn’t leave William here, but something was off with me today. If it all were to end now, I wouldn’t be sorry.
“You’re a handsome man.” I shrugged and hoped he’d drop the subject.
“I have a husband back home, and I do not intend to leave him. Ever.”
The words made me smile. I ignored the lump in my throat and tried to focus on the fact that he did love me. “He’s a lucky man.”
“He claims to be. Are you married?”
I met William’s gaze and nodded. “I am, and I love him.”
William’s lips thinned. “Then why are you here with me? You should be at home with him.”
“I would be if he was at home.”
“Where is he?”
Yeah, that’s the question, isn’t it? “He’s on a trip.”
William gasped. “He went on a trip without you? The bastard!”
“Yeah, no. He didn’t have a choice.”
“Oh, but still… It’s hard to be the one who’s left behind. When will he be back?”
I opened my mouth only to close it again. “He drops in now and then.”
“Yeah? Where is he now?”
I chuckled. “Somewhere down memory lane, I think.”
William reached out and squeezed my shoulder. “I’m sure he’ll be back soon, don’t worry about it.”
We sat in silence for a while. The morning show on the TV drew close to an end, and I started to long for a cup of coffee. I had no desire whatsoever to go to the cafeteria, though.
“Have you been married long?”
I glanced at William. He was watching me with a crease between his brows, clenching his jaws the way he did when he was thinking too hard.
He nodded, and the crease between his brows deepened. I held my breath, both fearing and hoping he would remember me.
“I’ve been married a long time, too…I think.” He rubbed his forehead, looking lost.
“Yeah? He’s a lucky man.” I patted his hand. It wasn’t often he allowed touch, but I figured since he’d squeezed my shoulder, a pat on the hand should be okay. He grabbed my hand and intertwined our fingers. My joints protested, but I didn’t care.
“I miss him.” William blinked more rapidly. “I miss him every second of every day.”
I swallowed to prevent my throat from closing up and cursed the way my eyes started to burn. “And he misses you.”
He nodded. “I think he does.” With his free hand, he rubbed his chest. “It feels like he does. It feels as if I should be somewhere else.”
I didn’t say anything. What was there to say?
The silence grew. A soap opera started on the TV, and we sat there, next to each other, and held hands. Rain began to fall outside, drops fighting for room on the glass of the window.
Charlie Wilkins had everything he wanted – a husband, a daughter, a house that was his home. He still has his husband, but William has forgotten who he is. He still has his daughter, but the roles have switched, and she is now the one taking care of them.
There is only one thing Charlie wants, and that is to spend the rest of his days with William by his side. But William is living in a nursing home, and Charlie is living…somewhere. Ann says she will fix it; she’ll make sure they’ll get to live together again. Charlie hopes she will before William either escapes or figures out Charlie has left him in someone else’s care.
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