“Night Begins the Day” is a short story from Shousetsu Bang*Bang Issue No.56: Out of this World. Faith, star gazing and rocket science are this story’s tethers to the theme.
Asher is a thirty-something guy who’s in a kind of barren season in his life. He’s single, gay and Jewish–in ethnicity, culture, faith, and practice. While chaperoning his nephew, Lem, at a birthday party for one of Lem’s occupational therapy session mates, he meets Dov, who is single, bi (it seems), and Jewish–in ethnicity only. As the story unfolds, we learn how these labels have impacted their lives and what, after all they have endured, these labels mean to them.
Family opposition, a misunderstanding, cheating, and which side of the closet door a character is most comfortable on–are common points of contention in fictional non-hetero relationships. They offer a questionably surmountable strain between a couple. They are very common, so common that I’m having a hard time thinking of reasons other than death that I’ve encountered, so it’s nice to read a story with a conflict that doesn’t revolve around the relationship itself.
When I read the lead paragraphs that posted on Tumblr, I squealed as soon as I saw “Rick Brown.” And I thought that even if it wasn’t more Rick and Issac (from Bodies in Space), it was in the same universe and that was enough for me. Connections aside, I enjoyed this so much, particularly the way Asher lives with his faith, it echoed a lot of my own feelings about my relationship with God. And again, the characters were so rich and their insecurities and curiosities rang so true. The secondary and tertiary characters were only there for a bit, but they were so there. With a line or two, you got them and their connections with the people around them. To give life to more than 3 or 4 characters in a short story is quite a feat.
Man, I really liked this. When I turned in for the night, I started reading a manga, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open–it wasn’t boring; I was just tired–but, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to pick up where I left off with “Night Begins the Day” and, well… I don’t regret staying up to read it. It wasn’t even a struggle… Imagine that.