Monday, September 3, 2012

The Unspoken

Free - 647 pages

With retirement looming, fifty-nine year old pastor Dan Amos has more questions than he began with. The world has changed. And then there is Jay. Was his son’s bike accident really suicide? Ten years may have passed, but peace still eludes him. And all he has left are photos of a twenty-two year old son he didn’t know, dressed in leather; tattooed and angry; mirroring the two young men pictured with him – Ned and Joe: unwelcome at the funeral, but now, perhaps, the only lead in finding out what really happened to Jay. Dan is determined to seek them out, even if it marks a descent into their world.

Ned is a dreamer with an unlovable face, unkempt pony tail and intimidating tattoos. He is out of shape and angry at a pedestrian life that hasn’t met his expectations. He has tried every fad to quench his thirst for success and it is his wife who bears the brunt of his frustration. Joe is taller, better looking and less threatening than Ned and, like Ned, has his own secrets. He is living life the only way he knows: filling his nights with rum and cokes and the quest for a bed partner. Both men maintain that there is no secret to Jay’s death, and Dan is met with hostility when he originally confronts them. But when their lives begin to change it is not long before they are the ones seeking Dan out for support and guidance. What ensues bridges the gap between the two worlds with friendship and camaraderie, as Dan supports Joe through his difficult new relationship and tries to steer Ned away from violence and frustration. 

As the friendships develop Dan feels that he is getting closer and closer to Jay. His son had been experimenting, making up for lost time, conflicted by a pure upbringing and a life he wanted to pursue. Dan has built up the idea of suicide to make some sense of it all, but there is no sense to be made.

It is more than a year later, when Dan receives some devastating news, that the relationships are rekindled. Ned and Joe support him into an ambulance and it is clear that they have become his sons. Dan mimics Ned and Joe; being them; being Jay; shouting at the staff and at a life that he still doesn’t understand.

Dan begs for more time, to be able to understand and help people, and is told that there is nothing he can do; that the deepest wounds in life are always nursed alone.

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