the night like something dying
Currently reading Tory Dent’s HIV, Mon Amour. The book tosses me into something like a miniature process of grief – anger, disbelief, bargaining, depression, acceptance… Is that what it is? Could that be the process so simply?)
A couple weeks ago, while visiting California, I had hoped to stay with one of my best friends, who happens to be HIV positive. He discovered his positive status a few months before I started trying to get sober, five years ago now, when we were still students at Emerson College. We helped each other from the start – two kids, 21 and 22, trying to come to terms with diseases that were not only potentially terminal, but subjects of widespread misunderstanding in the mass culture. After graduating, my friend moved to San Francisco, perhaps the one U.S. city with the most resources for gay men and HIV positive people. For a long time, I think just being in SF helped, living near the Castro’s rainbow flag. There seemed to be many free resources: acupuncture, counselors, doctors, medical marijuana, therapeutic groups. Unfortunately, something has started to happen to my friend, not a physical infection or complication, as far as I know, but an emotional breakdown, involving an alienation so intense that even I was deemed as someone who doesn’t, and couldn’t possibly, understand. The longer we know each other, the more I realize how different our diseases are, how little overlap there truly is in what sort of actions are necessary for each of us to try to live in healthy ways. Reading Tory Dent’s book, I keep thinking of my friend, wishing there was something else I could do, hoping that one day he’ll find a way to recognize me again.
Tory Dent : R.I.P., My Love