Seeing You
by Dakota Flint, contemporary (2010, reissue)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-882-6


First off, please note that Seeing You is also available in print form as part of the anthology Studs & Spurs from MLR Press. Strange how the cover for the electronic short story is a hundred times more easy on the eyes that the hideous anthology cover.

Anyway, the story. When Dylan's brother Simon died about a year ago, Dylan left the Lazy G ranch in Montana to avoid facing the people there. He feels guilty about surviving unscathed in the accident that took Simon's life, and he also couldn't bear facing the heartbroken Wade, Simon's boyfriend.

A concerned call from his sister brings Dylan back to Montana. Now that he is back, he realizes that Wade has let the Lazy G fall apart in his grief and neglect. No matter, Dylan the Wonder Boy is here to fix things up and even get Wade to heal.

Seeing You is a tender love story about healing and moving on with life with a second chance at love. I recognize the well-written aspects of this story and I certainly react positively to them, even if sometimes I think the author is overloading the sentimentalism a little too much.

However, just as there is a strong element of drama here, I can't help feeling that there is a considerably ersatz feel to the proceedings. For one, Dylan, who starts out as a pretty damaged fellow, suddenly morphs into an insightful shrink-in-the-making when he reaches the Lazy G. He knows all the right things to say to Wade, whom he psychoanalyzes with accuracy, as if he has a PhD in Oprah Winfrey. It is also a bit befuddling how Dylan, who saw his brother die in his arms, has to console and coddle Wade as if their roles were reversed. The whole scenario makes Wade come off like a weaker and more emotionally fragile man than he should be. That guy just falls apart completely and starts hitting the bottle; I'm not sure love is a better cure for him compared to, say, some Prozac.

Seeing You is not a bad story. There are scenes that work for me, but unfortunately, there also some scenes that feel artificial to me. The author shows too much eagerness in demonstrating how much she understands her characters' vulnerabilities. The end result resembles a talk show or a therapy session more than I'd have liked.

Rating: 78


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