Short Stories 366:245 — “Night Moves,” by Ross Showalter

I don’t know how often I randomly bump into stories—it’s often, but hard to quantify—but I do know how rare it is to bump into those stories and have everything else grind to a complete halt. I read the first few lines, and then dropped everything else I was doing so I could finish it immediately. There’s a lot going on in “Night Moves,” but at the core it’s a relationship piece, a story of a connection between two gay men who’ve got the sex thing figured out, but the rest not so much. The spark, connection, and struggle of a relationship between a hearing man and a deaf man, starting in a place where you know it has gone wrong, and then putting the reader back at the start and charting the way forward.

The descriptive texts of ASL signs between the breaks in the story are just air-kiss perfection, setting a tone via one word alongside evocative motion and each one felt like a shiver up the spine. Here’s the next crack, here’s the crumble… It’s a brilliant transitional tool, and I loved it. More, there’s a sly aside to them given the main character is attempting to learn ASL—but failing to communicate with his deaf lover—that adds all the more impact.

All that to say, you should go read this (it’s available at the link above). It’s sexy, it’s intelligent, and it’s so freaking immersive. And while it’s definitely not a pick-me-up, it’s the kind of story that stayed with me for weeks after, just hovering in the back of my mind, and ultimately I can’t think of higher praise, really. It absolutely sent me looking for more of Ross Showalter‘s tales, and I can’t wait to dive into them.

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