"In a bind that I can’t bend. No sleep for days on end, cause things went so badly. Words I wish I didn’t say. My brain got in the way and I am truly sorry. I want to take it back, undo what’s been done... I hope that you’ll forgive me. Maybe somewhat wiser now with my mistakes abound. Oh, I have loved you badly.” ~ Melanie Dekker
When Xavi left Sam behind five years ago, without being able to admit it, he also left behind a piece of his heart. It's just another of many mistakes and bad choices he's made in his life. Xavi gives his parents’ phone number in case Sam everneeds him, but is surprised when Sam turns up where Xavi works with a declaration and a request. Sam is dying and he wants Xavi to be with him when he does.
Xavi is overwhelmed but, whether through obligation or strong denial of his feelings, he tries his best to fulfill Sam's last request. Xavi and Sam travel aimlessly, looking for just the right spot; a field of flowers by the ocean for Sam's last resting place.
Xavi reflects on his time with Sam, painfully remembering his overwhelming desire for him along with the pain he has caused both of them in his ultimate rejection. In the past, love has meant nothing but pain; Xavi no longer believes it's possible to be in love without enduring the agony that may accompany it. Instead of responding to his intense feelings to be with Sam, he denies them and literally and figuratively speaking, runs from them, abandoning Sam to a life of loneliness and pain. Because of his hesitation to accept how he feels, Xavi is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Xavi senses how much love Sam needs and he's terrified that he can't live up to his expectations. Instead of sorting out his feelings, forgiving himself for his inadequacies, and moving forward, he does what he's always done - he runs from them.
This is a profound, beautifully written story that often brought me to tears. Suki twisted the emotion out of me as she clearly demonstrated Xavi's predicament. She also made me want to smack Xavi for his inability to see what was right in front of him! Sam had my heart aching with his desperate last attempt to be with the man he loves, even though he had been rejected by him. Sam was resolved that he was going to die and almost welcomed it since he had nothing to live for. Sam wanted Xavi to be with him to share one of the most intimate times of his life. The fact that Xavi so readily agreed to go with him should have been a big flag, telling Xavi how much Sam meant to him; but it took seeing that he was loosing Sam forever to shake him up enough to see that they were both out of time and it was now or never.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper story with more to it than a simple romance, reminding us of the fragility of life, the importance of forgiveness, and the sanctity of love. Thanks, Suki. You took my breath away.