In the height of the Prohibition era, recent Yale graduate Heath Johnson falls for Art, the proprietor of a unique speakeasy tucked away beneath the streets of Manhattan where men are free to explore their sexuality. When Art’s sanctuary is raided, Heath is forced to choose between love and the structured life his parents planned for him.
Heath was kind enough to share a letter he wrote to his younger self. His letter is full of good advice to himself, but it also is just enough that he doesn’t give away his own story. Read and enjoy!
Dear Heath of five years ago,
I know you’re scared. I know what the boys at school say about you and about how you feel when return home at the end of the day with your head bowed so Martha won’t see the tears in your eyes. But, Heath, you must remember that those boys don’t know you, and nor should they have the privilege to.
Next year will be better. Yale will be your fresh start: an environment in which you may grow and learn around like-minded individuals. It won’t all be work, either: there’s fun to be had there, too. If I had one note of advice? Should you hear a suspicious sound in the library one dull evening, allow curiosity to get the better of you. I won’t ruin the surprise; it’s rather a good one.
Everything else will figure itself out, too. The feelings you can’t put a name to that keep you awake until dawn is breaking outside of the window. The pressure of father’s wishes and your uncertainty over your own.
Please don’t let the good be shrouded by your worries and fears for the days to come. Allow yourself to enjoy the days as they come, for I would hate for you to miss anything.
Be brave. Be open-minded. And, most of all, be patient. There is a place for you in this world that no one else can fill.
Heath swallows, playing over an idea that had formed shakily in his head after he saw Frankie, since Art walked through that door and possibly longer without him being fully conscious of it. “Maybe it’s time I was honest. Tell them that I don’t want to marry Ginny or work with my father. Let the pieces fall where they may.”
“You would do that?”
“If it meant being with you, I would do anything.” Heath sits up and the sheets fall to pool around his waist. “I know what I want, now. And it’s you and whatever a future with you brings.”
Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children’s books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys traveling, scented candles and brunch. Her short story, “The Willow Weeps for Us,” was included in “Summer Love: An LGBTQ Collection,” published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press (2015).
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