Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Watermelon Kisses
AUTHOR: Freddy MacKay
PUBLISHER: Mischief Corner Books
LENGTH: 66 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2017
Life hasn’t been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.
But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.
This holiday story was absolutely beautiful but it gutted me. My heart went out to sweet Amir and for so many that go through or have gone through what he did.
Having fled Iran, the scars on his back may show parts of what he went through, but the emotional and mental ones are so much worse and haunt him daily. Things we often take for granted, such as a simple trip to the grocery, put Amir in such a state of panic it is hard for him not to completely lose it. The one bright spot in his life is his now husband, Esmail, who keeps him together when all seems to be lost. Amir is determined though, to make this night special for them. It is a holiday for their culture, one that celebrates the light chasing the darkness away and Amir is more in need of this ever. He has to give Esmail this gift to show him how much he truly loves him, even when he can’t say the words.
Amir is such a treasure in the book to me. The tortures he went through for so long in Iran, have just left him broken. Little things frighten him, such as darkness, and cause him to go back to the bad place in his mind. He tries so hard to be intimate with his husband, but even that he has to be in control or he loses it. And it breaks my heart because he wants to be better for Esmail. He wants his husband to have his pleasure too. He tries so hard to be brave and to keep going, no matter how bad it gets. But what I love even more is Esmail. Living with someone with that kind of PTSD is hard. Being married is even harder. It’s hard to always have to be positive and to be the light to shine for someone in that darkness, but when you truly love someone, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is their happiness and the love they share. And Esmail is so perfect for Amir. Yes they have their disagreements and no life is not always perfect, but the love that is shared is what matters. And they love each other so much. And as Esmail often reminds Amir, there is light after darkness. There is always hope of a new day.
If you know someone with PTSD, please be considerate. So many need an Esmail. They need a light to shine in the darkness. They need to know someone has their back. They need a reminder that tomorrow is a new day with new hope. They need love. And to Freddy MacKay, thank you for bringing stories like this to light. It is packed with so much beauty in a time when beauty is hard to be found. What a wonderful story.