The Long Run is such a great story of two young boys finding their way and finding themselves along the way. Sandro is invisible in so many ways and he’s learned to protect his softness by keeping to himself, especially as his dad and brothers like to “pick on him” in a way that crosses from affectionate into toxic. Bash is having trouble deciding who he is and who he wants to be outside what those around him expect, and in the process has been isolating himself from those who love him. But when Bash and Sandro go to a party that gets busted and end up running off to a ditch together, they begin a journey of finding themselves and each other.
This is such a compelling story and I had trouble putting it down. I loved the messy, complex nature of both Bash and Sandro. They’re both dealing with heavy things but with one another they’re able to find space to be soft and learn what love can look like. I really appreciate that while Sandro has known he was gay for a long time, Bash has an internal revelation because Sandro is the first guy he’s been interested in, and because of the bro-culture (toxic masculinity at its finest) he’s part of with his “friend” and the track team, he’s never given himself space to question his identity and doesn’t have the language to define his feelings and experiences.
Overall this is a really great story of friendship and self discovery and two guys learning to find and build spaces for softness while inundated in toxic masculinity. I really enjoyed this and look forward to what James Acker will write in the future.