Ashling, Mickie. “Momentos: Mick’s Journey”, Dreamspinner Press, 2011.
Before I sat down to read Mickie Ashling’s new book, I sent the author a note saying I was about to begin it and was told to have some tissues ready. This is a book you read with tears in your eyes—some are for the plot but others are for the beautiful way this book is written.
In an earlier novel, “Loving Edits”, Ashling wrote about how Mick Henley was responsible for bringing Paul Alcott and Tono Garat together. Before they came together Mick and Paul were together in an affair that began in their youth and lasted for twelve years. Twelve years is not easy to walk away from and the two men carry memories that affect their lives. They were first lovers and much of what they did together was a series of firsts. However, it would not last. Paul’s father was responsible for the affair to stop and he destroyed the beauty that had once been there. More than anything else, he ruined what Mick thought about love.
Paul left and Mick was alone until he met Tono, a Spanish athlete who was still in the closet and it was Tono who helped Mick get over Paul. Mick remained an inspiration to Paul and to Tono and as he dies, he brings them together. It was his parting gift to the two men who were the most important people in his life. It is because of Mick that Paul and Tono see that memories are important and that they are gifts and that love is the most sincere present that someone can give to another person. After Mick’s death, his two lovers, Paul and Tono are at an impasse. Tono was not ready to be in a relationship with Paul because he was afraid what people would say and possibly speak about them being together as Mick was dying from ALS. He was also afraid that he might not be able to keep Paul because of the differences intellectually between them. When they finally do come together, Mick is also there with them, in spirit. Mick had been around to mediate their differences and now he is gone.
This is the final book in the Basque series that is made up of “Loving edits”, “Tono” and “Momentos” and with the end, we say goodbye to Ashling’s characters who are wonderfully drawn. It is like losing good friends when we realize that we will not be reading about them. However, looking at Ashling’s literary output, we can be sure that new books with new characters will come.
I read that the three books were inspired by the author’s mother and her time with ALS and what a wonderful tribute to her and a welcome gift to us.