What do you do when the past comes walking through your front door?
That’s what Rick Jensen and Ed Doherty have to decide when Jerry Taylor, Ed’s former lover, long thought dead, comes knocking on their door the night of their sixth anniversary. Will Jerry’s re-emergence in Ed’s life bring the end to the happiness Rick has found with him? Or will Rick’s love for Ed be strong enough to supersede the memory of what Jerry and Ed shared?
Rick opens his eyes. For a moment he is disoriented. Then he remembers. He looks around the living room of the cabin on the mountain. He and Ed had built this cabin just a year earlier. He sighs deeply and realizes he still holds a glass in his hand as he sits hunched down in the overstuffed chair in which he had fallen asleep. The glass is empty and the stain on his jeans reveals he has spilled his third glass of whiskey probably as he had drifted off. He pushes himself upright, sets the glass on the table next to his chair and puts his head in his hands and rubs his eyes. Rick has to piss. He gets up and walks to the bathroom and relieves himself. He turns and looks at his reflection in the mirror over the sink.
“How did this happen? How could this happen?” he asks himself out loud. “How could this fuckin’ happen?” he says again, pounding his hand on the vanity, causing the mirror to shake.
Rick walks back into the living room and to the big bay window. He looks out on the lake with the sun glistening on the water: 7:23 by his wristwatch. He stares vacantly at the lake and lets the sparkling ripples mesmerize him. Scenes from the previous night come back to him.
* * * *
He and Ed came home to their house in the valley after dinner and were in bed. They turned in early, eager to celebrate their anniversary. They had been together for six years: six happy, fulfilled years. Ed lay on his back smiling up at him. Rick was between his legs, they pressed their lips against each other. Rick was just about to complete their union when the doorbell rang.
“Damn,” he exclaimed.
“Ignore it,” Ed said pulling him down and arching his back.
“What if it’s Becky?”
Ed replied, “Becky would just come on in and yell, ‘Hey Daddy, Rick, ready or not, here I come.'”
Now there was knocking -- not loud but persistent.
Rick sighed. “Don’t go away.” He kissed Ed on the nose, got out of bed, slipped on a pair of pajama bottoms and slippers and padded out of the bedroom.
“Git rid of the son of a bitch whoever it is and git back here.” Ed growled.
Rick switched on a light in the living room that was semi-dark in the summer twilight. “Hold on, hold on I’m coming.” The knocker had continued its persistent pounding. It was getting louder now.
He opened the door and switched on the porch light. “Yeah?”
The man on the porch looked totally perplexed. “Oh,” he stammered, “I must have the wrong house. Sorry I bothered you.” He turned to walk away.
“Who the fuck was that?” came Ed’s gruff voice as he walked up behind Rick.
The man on the porch froze. He turned around.
Rick looked at the man and then over his shoulder at his partner. Ed’s eyes were wide and the color was draining from his face.
“O ma God.” Ed staggered backward and lost his balance on the ottoman behind him. Rick turned and grabbed his arm to steady him. “O ma God!” he said again. “Jerry ... Jerry ... you’re supposed to be dead!"