Richard stands at the door of his living room watching a young man move about the room examining mementos of his life. He has brought this man here for one reason -- to lay both he and a ghost to rest. Like the poster hanging on his living room wall, Richard has lived a sepia life for too many years. With his wife gone but not forgotten, his grief is complicated, yet Gloria's presence lives on guiding him towards a happier future.
Richard believes what little love he had in his life has withered but before she died his darling Gloria unlocked her silent throat. Now the time has come for Richard to sing his own song, to face the future, to make the right choice.
Later, resting in the dark ... Now, he barely recalled how it all felt. Only Neil slumbering beside him had revealed to him the reality, no dream. All he thought of six months down the line was tearing open the condom packet, skimming latex over his cock, and the barest recollection of burrowing in somewhere tight and hot. Unfair the memory of his first time penetrating another man was such a blur.
"Do you want me to leave?"
Neil's question brought him back to himself. "No," he said, amazed he meant it.
"Great. Because you're not getting rid of me so easily."
The remark fetched a smile to his lips. That much was true. They'd moved on from condoms to the point of no return: reciprocated trust. "I don't deserve you."
The other man appeared a little awkward in response. He shrugged. "Hey. As I stuck around through all this, all this time, at least you know what I feel is real."
Richard wanted to ask why. Why do you love me? Why would you, after all the crap I put you through? He didn't. Neil wouldn't answer him. Not now. Not yet. Not this way. Answers to such questions lay ahead and, besides, Richard understood. Far from being a narcissus, still few people thought so little of themselves. Neil loved him for all the fine qualities Gloria told Richard he possessed. As he said, a good woman was his Gloria. A good woman.
"So, did you change the bedding?" Neil asked a second time.
Richard laughed. "I did more than that. I changed the bloody bed."
Neil's eyes flashed in surprise followed by a smile. They stared at each other, grinning.