Dreamspinner Press, Lee James

Small Gems – A Crack in Time by Lee James

I was only five years old in 1970, so my memories of that time have more to do with kindergarten than Kent State, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recall bits and pieces of the era, absorbed through the thoughts and feelings and actions of a seventeen-year-old sister who, for a very long time, regretted not being at Woodstock and wanted nothing more than to move to California and live on a beach somewhere.

It was the post Helter Skelter time, when the jungles of Vietnam became the platform for a new era of protest for an entire generation of youth, and “make love, not war” was their campaign slogan. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, flower power, the era of free love…but only to a certain extent. In 1970, free love wasn’t yet entirely liberated.

Eighteen-year-old Micha Dahl knew that as well as anyone, living in Middle-of-Nowhere, Montana (not exactly the hotbed of liberal thinking) and working as a waiter at the Longhorn Café. Micha had a plan: work, save money for college, and avoid the draft on a student deferment. Simple plan, really, but life doesn’t much care for simple plans, especially if your number comes up before you have a chance to carry them out. But sometimes irony has a way of twisting things around and making you grateful for the oddest things.

Meeting Second Lieutenant Trent Valiston and beginning a nearly two year affair with a married man certainly wasn’t part of Micha’s original plan. Losing touch with Trent for forty years wasn’t part of the plan either. But life doesn’t much care for plans, simple or otherwise, does it?

A Crack in Time is a memory, a recollection of a few significant events in one man’s life that imprinted on his mind and on his heart and might have helped to shape his years in ways that wouldn’t have been possible had they never happened. For Micha, 1970 was the age of discovery, as he embarked upon his own sexual revolution and erotic liberation. There is a beautiful realism to this short story—that people walk into and out of our lives, and that at the age of eighteen, sometimes what feels as though it could last forever will eventually become a mere footnote within a small yet significant chapter of the whole of a life story.

There is a sense of melancholy to this narrative that makes it a perfect addition to DSP’s Bittersweet Dreams collection. As the decades accumulate behind us, as we spend more time recalling images and events from the past, those memories become the hallmark of a journey that changes course with each new experience. For Micha and Trent, their paths eventually again crossed, but not in a happily-ever-after sort of way. That doesn’t mean, however, that their feelings for each other were diminished in any way. It simply means that sometimes life gets in the way of the order of things.

Buy A Crack in Time HERE.


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