July 22, 2015

The Lonely Heart Is a Hungry Hunter

On Rosana Briel’s “Como un torrente” (“Like a Torrent”)

Months ago, during an interview with Bésame y vente conmigo author Olivia Ardey, she stated that one of her favorite Spanish M/M romance fictions is this short story by Rosana Briel. Once you have read it you can surely agree.

Seth, an orphan, self-sufficient guy on his 28th birthday, recalls his life so far. Very wild in his teens, his past can be summed up as a constant moving from foster families back to orphanage over and over again. He only could find peace in his sole friend Aidan, another orphan. Painfully, a lethal leukemia took him away from his side too soon. Aidan was not only the love of his life, but also his big brother, his mate, the one who taught him the most important lesson: Nobody cares about you, so do it yourself.

Years went by and Seth could make his living. Now he is a successful professional illustrator, as well as a 6’3”, long wavy dark-haired, amazing green-eyed lone wolf who is sure of one thing: he will never ever love again—

This unsatisfying exposition could make the reader feel we are dealing with a sad story…By no means! From this moment on, Seth is keeping a conversation throughout the story with a group of women (his “muses,” as he calls them) that he is agitating, teasing, joking with..., while they—together with the reader—are playing the role of witnesses in his vivid account of his birthday celebration. A hot celebration, indeed.

Instead of a pleasant party with friends (if any), our stand-alone hero plans to club tonight to have some fun, probably to wipe away those sad memories from the past. That is why he turns down an invitation from a mild guy who looks like an absent-minded teacher. No way. Tonight he really needs an extra-challenging stimulation. And Seth the hunter will eventually find it close to the bar.

There, an irresistible wave of Davidoff’s “Cool Water” invades his nostrils. A picture of the scented prey, you ask? Dark eyes. Thick lips. Short hazel hair. Strong arms. Powerful thighs in tight blue jeans. A hunky trunk wrapped up in a raw lumberjack shirt. The name: James. Or, the perfect chance for a sex & drugs & alcohol night in a hotel room.

By now, you are presumably expecting a swinging series of meticulously described sex sessions starred by this charming pair who do not believe in underclothing. Well, you are truly right—and will be overwhelmingly satisfied! Anyway, what the reader might not imagine is that tonight will turn crucial in Seth’s destiny.

Like Scheherazade in Arabian Nights, we find unarguably true that Rosana Briel is an amazingly skillful storyteller. Reading “Como un torrente” is like being on a rollercoaster: The first paragraphs make us think of a weepy, heartbreaking narration; all of a sudden, the whole thing becomes a light ironic comedy—until the plot slides into the realms of eroticism…But Briel has kept an ace up her sleeve, and what could be another witty-but-idle story about two horny beefcakes enjoying a big time turns into something deeper. Love at first (torrential) ejaculation, could be said? Paraphrasing Warner Bros. all-time screen classic Casablanca, though changing the last word (as Briel does at the end of her story): “This is the beginning of a beautiful love.”

You can read the original text in Spanish here.