Notes from Boston #3


Drumbeat - A.M. Leibowitz
Editions:Kindle: $ 8.99
Pages: 231

Jamie Cosgrove is doing his best to recover from a break-up after years with an abusive boyfriend. All his usual coping strategies have failed, and he’s fallen back on things that make him feel safe: drumming, food, and his friend Trevor. The trouble is, two of those are still secrets, even from those closest to him.

Cian Toomey has it all. He has loving relationships with his partners and a fulfilling, creative career. The one thing he’s missing is someone to go home to at night. When sudden changes occur at one of his jobs, he’s faced with a choice to find something new or move in with his partners in a different city.

Well-meaning but pushy friends seem to think Cian and Jamie are the answers to each other’s prayers. They couldn’t disagree more. A series of random events thrusts them into each other’s lives, and they find they have more in common than they thought. But when all of Jamie’s carefully constructed walls crumble at once, both of them will have to depend on the support of their friends and family to strengthen their fragile bond.

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There was a clacking against the floorboards behind Jamie, and he turned around. Cian still had on his jig shoes, and when Jamie looked at him, he showed off a few lively steps with a twinkle in his eye. Jamie had seen tap dancers before, like Izzy when he was performing as TaTa. The sound of the jig shoes was different from the bright clicks of the metal taps. The fiberglass was richer, more full. Somehow, though, it was lighter the way Cian did it, every step paired with a little jump.

His posture was different too, Jamie noted. Narrower, with his shoulders, hips, and feet lined up vertically rather than horizontally. He kept his arms still at his sides and his back straight. After a moment or two, Jamie could tell the difference when Cian switched from tapping only on the balls of his feet to using the whole shoe to stomp.

Want to try? Cian signed after he came in for a landing in front of Jamie. He still had his hearing aids out.


No! Jamie tried to shift away, to make it clear he wasn’t up for such a thing. He couldn’t possibly hope to learn that skill.

Cian grinned. Please? It’s easy. I’ll show you after I change shoes.

Jamie looked at his own feet, thinking it didn’t look particularly easy. Should I change?

You don’t have to. I have extra if you want. Cian ducked into the wings and grabbed his bag. What size?

Do I have to wear the ones with all the ties? Jamie couldn’t picture himself trying to get them done up without getting tangled in the long laces.

G-h-i-l-l-i-e-s? Cian finger-spelled it, and Jamie wondered how it was pronounced. No. Only girls, unless you’re in Scotland. Here. Cian reached into the bag and tossed over a pair of soft black shoes. Try those.

Jamie toed off his sneakers and slipped on the black shoes. They were a little loose, but they fit well enough and conformed to his feet. The thin material felt strange after wearing street shoes. He faced Cian and waited for instructions, his heart beating rapidly and his palms sweaty.

Cian explained the steps and what he called them, then demonstrated for Jamie. He made it look easy. Cian was muscular but not lanky; he wasn’t built the way Jamie envisioned most dancers. Yet he was light on his feet, almost springy. He always looked to Jamie as though he was flying when he danced at Grand Slam. Here on this stage, he toned it down a bit for Jamie’s benefit, the same way he did with his students.

Jamie tried to imitate the pattern of steps. The first one he got all right, but by the second set he’d somehow ended up on the wrong foot. Cian didn’t make fun or chastise him. He showed Jamie again then motioned for him to try. In a short time, Jamie had picked up one of the basic forward steps.

They played around for a bit longer, at which point Jamie’d had enough. He truly wasn’t any kind of dancer, no matter what Cian had tried to tell him. He asked to stop, and Cian praised his effort before accepting the shoes back and tucking them away. He slid his hearing aids back in and sat down to put his street shoes on.

“Not bad, for a first time,” he told Jamie as he laced his sneakers.

“I guess. I don’t think I’m cut out for it.”

“Maybe you don’t think so, but it takes more than one short lesson to pick it up. You could learn, I promise.”

“I’m not graceful like you or my friend Izzy.” Jamie shrugged; he wasn’t bothered by it.

“I’d say you’re very graceful,” Cian objected. “I mean…” His face went red, and Jamie laughed.


This novel includes scenes of disordered eating behavior. It also includes various polyamorous relationships with multiple genders.

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