Sean and Brawnie Celebrate Their First Anniversary Despite These Virus-Times


Returning from his morning run, Sean found a pair of hand-sewn face masks hanging on the handle of the front door.

“Those are from Patty our neighbor,” Brawnie told his husband. “I think she appreciates my keeping tabs on her, even at a distance.”

The boys wore their new apparel at the grocery store, where Sean works as one of the managers. His colleagues greeted them with good-natured chuckles when they saw the matching plaid masks. 

“That’s okay,” Sean quipped. “Nobody noticed my hair’s getting longer and kind of raggedy around the edges.” Sean thought a moment. “Your buzz cut will take months to grow out. So you win that one, I guess.”

Back home, Brawnie cleared out a corner of the basement and unpacked his old barbells and dumbbells and bench. “With the gym closed indefinitely,” he explained with a hint of irritation, “I have to make my own.” 

“Whereas I can just go outside and run,” Sean said with a smirk. “I think I win that one.”

Sean and Brawnie were married a year ago. They could not have known back then they would have to celebrate their first anniversary at home, socially distanced from the world. Brawnie made Thai Green Curry for dinner from a recipe Patty had emailed them.

“I don’t know which wine goes with curry,” he said.

“No one does,” Sean replied. “That cabernet you’re pouring is just fine by me.”

Sean thought a moment, chewing a cube of overcooked tofu. “So many little things don’t much matter any more.”

Copyright 2020 by Brian Dean Powers
Photo by the author

Sean and Brawnie and the Mathematics of Matrimony

Two Rings

Standing in the bathroom doorway, Sean listened to the out-of-tune voice. His husband had not mentioned these morning song-stylings before they moved in together.

Somehow I can’t understand how one and one make one.

Brawnie stood shirtless at the sink, shaving. “I like to cuddle near you, and listen to you lie,” he sang, about a quarter-tone off the intended melody. 

But get that marryin’ out of yer head, I’ll be a bachelor till I die.”

“Trying to tell me something?” Sean inquired with a smirk. “Hank Williams was hardly the paragon of marriage.”

Brawnie laughed. “He did marry Audrey twice, you know.”

“And she divorced him twice,” Sean replied. He surveyed his husband’s shoulders, admiring the well-developed delts and traps.

Brawnie made a quick pivot, grabbing Sean by the waist and lifting him up. 

I don’t mind keeping comp’ny with the apple of my eye,” Brawnie sang.

Sean rubbed a dab of shaving cream off Brawnie’s earlobe. They stood there, face to face, one man firmly planted and the other a little aloft. 

Standing both together and apart, neither man was much concerned whether one and one make one.

Copyright 2020 by Brian Dean Powers
Photo by Luigi Pozzoli at

Sean and Brawnie Serve Soup and Shakespeare at Their Summer Nuptials


For Brawnie, love was agreeing to speak in front of two hundred guests despite his discomfort.

Before the officiant declared them husband and husband, Brawnie began his recitation to Sean.

          Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
          Like to the lark at break of day arising
          From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

Sean felt honored that Brawnie was speaking Mr. Shakespeare’s lines from memory.

          For thy sweet love rememb’red such wealth brings
          That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

When Brawnie finished, Sean told the crowd how he learned the value of seasonings from his mother.

How her salmon soup consisted of nothing but warm milk with a can of salmon dumped in.

How, as a child, he always poured his portion down the drain after everyone left the table.

How he would strive to spice his marriage to Brawnie with humor and patience, and the occasional spritz of whipped cream.

That evening, Brawnie loosened his tie, shucked his shoes and socks, and flopped down prone on their bed. When Sean came to the bedroom door, he wondered if Brawnie’s well-developed pecs could actually be amplifying his impressive snoring.

For Sean, standing in the doorway, love was letting his new husband sleep off a stressful day, knowing they had already arrived at heaven’s gate.

Copyright 2019 by Brian Dean Powers
Photo by Melanie Villeneuve at

Sean and Brawnie Ringin’ in the Rain


Sean stood at the kitchen window, watching drizzle slide down the pane.

“What a lovely mornin’,” he chirped.

“Thank you, Debbie Reynolds,” Brawnie replied, picking up a dish towel to dry a freshly washed wine glass.

Sean continued scrubbing crusty residue off last night’s dinner plates.

“I wonder,” he asked hesitantly, “how a guy would find out someone’s ring size without asking?”

Brawnie raised his eyebrows. 

“Are you trying to tell me something?”

“I mean,” Sean explained, “if you wanted the perfect ending to your musical.…”

Brawnie gulped lukewarm coffee from his mug. 

“I suppose the guy could just keep tap dancing around the question,” he suggested. 

“Then again,” he continued, looking out the rainy window, “if I were Gene Kelly, it’s possible I already would have gone off and bought a ring for my darling Debbie.”

Sean smirked. He placed a handful of cooking utensils in their drawer.

“What a lovely mornin’.”

Copyright 2019 by Brian Dean Powers
Photo by Sandy Millar at