This is the scene I can never quite bring myself to write. The difficulty itself isn’t daunting; it’s just hard for me to commit words to something so central to the story, so pivotal in the lives of my characters. I don’t know how many thousands of times I’ve imagined this moment yet every time the words, the gestures, the silences differ slightly and it feels wrong to make them so… official. There’s so much here to commit to text: Tanim revealing the past of sin and sex he finds so shameful, the sick desires he’s so sure will drive Daren away forever; and even more than this, the love he bears for Daren but would willingly ignore to keep the man in his life. And while Tanim is revealing all of these awful secrets, fearing that soon he will be alone again, he has no idea Daren has already chosen, and chosen him. But the man waits until Tanim has run out of words and stands braced for inevitable rejection before taking his hands, or maybe touching his cheek, and admitting his own burden. It isn’t easy for Daren to acknowledge something as intrusive as love even to himself, let alone to Tanim, yet he forces the words just the same. Doing so changes everything about their lives, their individual futures now forever intertwined for better and worse. I suppose in a way it is daunting, trying to do right by them, to honor this moment of such intense vulnerability and intimacy. Maybe one day I’ll manage it; until then I will let the fear and revelation and beautiful wonder of this scene remain theirs alone.


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