VJ and Tommy haven’t seen each other in nearly ten years, despite living not more than five miles apart. It all came down to that one kiss in college when Tommy rebuffed VJ and walked out of his life. Now, with both of them having taken over their family lands, they share a common border that edges right up to Doc’s old cabin and land. As Tommy and VJ sit in the lawyer’s office to hear exactly what it is Doc did with his land, they are stunned to hear they now own it jointly via inheritance. They decide to spend a few days there to decide who will buy the other out and to clean out the cabin. With that visit, old memories stir and, before long, Tommy is faced with the realization that he has hidden part of himself for years and driven the wedge between he and VJ even wider in doing so. He hopes that when VJ discovers the real him, he won’t turn him away, but instead accept his apology and hopefully be his friend again…and maybe more
Pat Henshaw has re-released The Thaw, a second chance romance between former best friends who have drifted apart due to a falling out over a kiss. At the time it happened, there was no way Tommy could even consider liking guys because trying to gain his father’s approval meant never showing weakness. It was bad enough his dad called VJ that “farmer fag.” When VJ kissed Tommy, it scared him so much he ran right out of VJ’s life and they never spoke again for ten long years. Now, faced with the prospect of surveying Doc’s old place and deciding who will buy the other out, the two men are staying in the cabin and revisiting their past. Memories are funny things. They sometimes carry some guilt with them and one, in particular, concerning a spot at Doc’s place, reflects a pivotal time for Tommy. It will be there that he is faced with something that changed him forever and must confess it to VJ and hope he can forgive him.
The story is told in alternating points of view with a bit more soul-searching from Tommy. In fact, I felt as though I got to know him quite well in this novella as opposed to VJ who remained more of an obscure character for me. Tommy’s emotions and his worries definitely pull at the heart strings making this an emotional coming out story, plus a friends to lovers tome. We get a real clear picture of how Tommy sought his dad’s approval over being honest with himself or VJ—to the danger of never seeing his best friend again, even though they lived so close to one another.
The Thaw relates one man’s struggle to be all things to all people and losing himself in the process. He falls victim to relying on other’s opinions to shape his life and ends up finds it empty and lacking in anything that can remotely make him happy. When he finally realizes that, he begins really living and that is a beautiful thing to see.