Saturday, November 17, 2012
New and Notable: Lily Sawyer's FROM THE DEPTHS
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To the world, Harry Goldberg appears to be a ordinary, happy-go-lucky man. He has a great job working at Nosh Deli on Long Island. His co-workers and customers love him. But Harry has a secret--he suffers from depression. No one understands what it's like to live life on the edge and not to be able to let anyone know for fear of driving them away. That is how Harry has led his life, alone except for his faithful cat.
But things change when a new delivery man shows up at the deli; one that he finds himself attracted to. But there is no one who can love someone with so much emotional baggage like him--is there?
Harry had a wonderful job; he worked at a deli on Long Island. He loved to watch the looks customers gave him when he served them his special mile-high sandwich. Despite the huge piles of hot pastrami and corned beef on ryewith a pickle and coleslaw on the side, they somehow left a clean plate. The people around Harry told him that he was a likeable kind of guy with a great sense of humor. All his co-workers loved him. Truth was, he had them all fooled. When he left the deli at the end of the day he went home to an empty apartment; his only company, aside from assorted houseplants, was his cat. Tom was a grey and white shorthair Harry had rescued from the local pound. No one knew about Harry's lonely existence, just like they didn't know he suffered with depression. The only ones who knew, aside from his immediate family, were his counselor and a support group he went to from time to time. Most people thought it was just the blues; at least that was what his parents thought at first. His mom was the worst. When Harry was fifteen, he'd buried himself in his bed and wouldn't come out. She kept telling him stop being lazy, get his ass out of bed, and snap out of it. Unfortunately, they didn't understand what it was like to feel as he did. No one knew how much Harry wanted to be normal; he didn't want anyone's pity. No one could know the deep pain he felt. Some days it got so bad he just wanted to lie down, go to sleep, and never wake up.
* * * *
Nicholas could never stand being cooped up inside some stuffy office building. Nope, that was never going to happen. So when his uncle offered Nicholas a job with his delivery company after he graduated high school, he jumped at the chance. That was almost ten years ago—driving a truck was in his blood now. Stern's trucking specialized in delivering kosher food to all the Jewish delis and kosher markets on Long Island and in the five boroughs of New York City. He checked the manifest; there was a new restaurant on the list. He'd been to Carle Place before but never to Nosh Deli. But a job was a job. He'd done so many deliveries he could do them in his sleep. He loaded up his truck in Queens Village and headed east to Long Island. He took the local roads, completely avoiding the Long Island Expressway.
* * * *
Harry was handling the lunch-hour-rush crowd. He'd lost count of how many pastrami and corned beef sandwiches he'd made and how much homemade coleslaw and potato salad he'd scooped out onto the plates. "Can I have a chicken on whole wheat bread, please?" Harry stopped his automaton-like movements, taking notice of the customer behind the voice—a blonde woman who appeared to be in her thirties, dressed in business attire. "Bless you. Thanks for breaking the monotony." She laughed. "You must get tired of the same old orders every day." Harry was on the receiving end of that brilliant smile. The woman seemed to be flirting with him. He had to admit she was an attractive woman. He noticed there was no ring on her left hand. There was one problem, though—Harry was gay. He'd known that girls didn't do anything for him that way since he was fourteen. It was one more thing his mother had nagged him about—dating women—until he came out to his parents. He couldn't say they were thrilled, but at least they didn't throw him out of the house. They just didn't talk about it. Besides, Harry hardly ever went out. He had one experimental encounter with a buddy in high school. They had given each other a hand job and that was that. Harry's self-esteem was in the basement. Who in their right mind would want to date a guy who was a killjoy? Depression robbed Harry of being able to really enjoy life. He was glad no one at work was aware of the sad sack in their midst—and no one would find out if he could help it. He buried himself in work, fixing orders for people like the woman who stood before him—he wouldn't let anyone get too close.
* * * *
Nicholas was only too grateful to the person responsible for inventing GPS. That gizmo on his dashboard had just saved him from sitting in traffic for what would seem to be forever and he'd consequently managed to arrive early in the parking lot of the shopping center where Nosh Deli was located. He parked his vehicle, got the hand truck out, and started unloading the order. It would take more than one trip to restock the deli's fridge. He pulled the heavier items in first, only too glad when a customer held the door open for him. "Thanks," he told the man, with a sincere smile and a nod of his head. The number of diners at Nosh Deli had thinned out after the lunchtime rush. A lull had settled in—the perfect time for Nicholas to do his delivery and get back onto the road. He had one more delivery after this—to a deli in Lynbrook—and then back to Queens and home. He lowered the hand truck and looked at the order. Morris Klein was listed as the contact person. "Excuse me. Is there a Mister Morris Klein around?" "Hello." A dark-haired man approached Nicholas. Nicholas couldn't help but notice how handsome he was and he ignored how his cock twitched when he shook the man's hand. "I'm Harry Goldberg. Morris isn't here right now; he's at the hospital." "Oh, nothing serious I hope?" "No, just welcoming his first grandchild into the world. His daughter went into labor this morning and he rushed over to Long Island Jewish." "Mazel tov. Is it a boy or a girl?" "A boy. Morris was beaming from ear to ear before he left, which is probably why he forgot about the order delivery." "That's totally understandable. Where can I put the stuff?" "We have a storage room right next to the freezer—I'll show you." Nicholas couldn't help staring at Harry's ass as he followed him to the back. It had been too long since he'd been in a relationship. He had put his focus into work and was really beginning to feel lonely. Harry certainly had gotten his attention and Nicholas wondered if he should take a chance and make a move. Is he gay? Is he into guys like I am? But if he isn't, I could lose my job. He briefly weighed the pros and cons before he finally decided that life was too short. Nicholas figured he should go for it. He unloaded what he had and went back out to the truck for the rest. He was moving more slowly than usual, trying to figure out how he could make this visit last a little longer so he could find out if Harry was interested in getting together. As it turned out, Harry solved that problem for him. "Are you hungry? I could make you a sandwich." Harry smiled shyly at him when Nicholas gave him the receipt to sign. "Sure, I'd love some pastrami on whole wheat and a potato knish on the side," Nicholas told him. "I'm afraid it will have to be a to-go order, I have another delivery I have to make." "Oh, okay." Was that disappointment he heard in Harry's voice? He'd never been to Nosh Deli before but he was beginning to realize that this wouldn't be his last trip. In fact, this may be my new favorite stop.
Explore other Lily Sawyer titles.
Real Men. True Love. Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.