Lori remembers her friend Arthur, a friend lost to AIDS.
National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was yesterday. I’ve seen some pretty eloquent blogs on the topic and felt a little inadequate to post anything particularly insightful. Every single person afflicted has a story. Today, that would make over 40 million stories. But, I just want to tell you about one.
Arthur was a long, lithe, sexy, beautiful, graceful Black man about my age. He was witty, bright, sardonic, seductive, charming, and though he could occasionally be a Miss Thang, he was mostly just kind. I met him in the last two years of his life. He had been infected very early in the epidemic, probably during his travels with the theater company he sang and danced in—he never really knew for sure. When I first got to
We’d meet there, on the odd occasion, and talk. Once in a while, we’d dance slow and crazy to Al Green. The last time I spoke to him, he sat at the bar and asked me to join him. Slowly, he told me about the man with whom he’d been on a date. Arthur, who was always joking and laughing, looked so incredibly sad as he told me that as much as he’d like to see the man again, and be held—just be held, comforted and loved, he knew he wouldn’t see him again in his current state, which was quickly deteriorating for some unexplained reason. I listened and hoped I provided some comfort to him that night before I hugged him best wishes until our next meeting. We both promised to call. He grabbed my hand and squeezed tightly.
I moved that month to
The funeral was held a few days later. It was a spiritual African-American service, but there was something not quite right in the air, according to the reports I received after my return to
Arthur’s friends raised the money to pay the cost of burying Arthur and providing him with a memorial stone. Arthur’s friends cleaned out his apartment and made sure his final wishes were honored regarding the disposition of his trinkets and baubles that meant so much to him. Arthur’s friends did not judge him, they loved him. The God I know did too.
Arthur will be remembered for how he lived, how he loved, and how he danced to Al Green.
Visit Lori at her blog Hahn at Home