If you have read some of ElSol's works before, then you are probably used to his intense sexual scenes and his detached but powerful male main characters. This story has that, to be sure, but it has something more powerful.
Michael is a college student who, with guitar and voice, can make people feel. Dacia is the girlfriend that can feel the music inside him, and can't stand that he doesn't let it out. Elizabeth is the record company executive that can make it all happen. But even with those 3 being the main characters, they pale before the spectre of Michael's mother, who is the axle this story revolves around.
The poweful emotions that ElSol wrings from this story are sadly uncommon in many stories. A son's desperate love for his sick mother. A mother's love for her son that sustains her through her illness. A father's inability to watch his wife waste away. A young man's difficulties in expressing his emotions outside of song.
I'll admit it. I teared up. The unrelenting love between mother and son was so touching, I can't imagine someone else not feeling the same.
It is so powerful, in fact, that while the sex in the store is extremely erotic and intense, it is overshadowed. In any other context, the stroke value of the story would be considered top notch, and thus I gave it a 10. But, when I was done reading the story, I wasn't thinking about getting off, but about the non-sexual relationship between mother and son.
So, if you read this story for stroke value, stop reading after Michael and Elizabeth finish. Because once Michael steps on stage for audition, and you get the story of his mother, stroke will be the last thing on your mind.
Of all the short stories on SOL, this is my all time favorite.