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gokedik
September 1st, 2014, 12:08 AM
Part 1 of an adult journey

His breath was lost, his knees were weak and he knew that he would never be the same again. She only said two words, “Bye, Dillon.” And she was gone before he knew what happened. He didn’t catch his oversight until it was too late. When he did, all the times she spoke to him, and he to her, flooded his mind and seared his heart. By the next morning he was asking when she’d return and by noon, what her name was. He felt that he let a great woman walk out of his life without him saying so much as a hello. Soon after, he stopped talking and could not force himself to smile.

He felt the vibe of curiosity emanating from her all night as she sat not thirty feet from him. But it had been so long since he even considered engaging a woman that he didn’t pursue her, as if he forgot. And he did, but would remember that night for weeks to come. Intense regret and stifling heartache plagued his every breath. And those became shallow and unintentional.

Dillon had AIDS for an uninterrupted fifteen years. He didn’t feel particularly desirable. And the thought of her paying attention seemed as far fetched as a cure for the virus. But, the way she said “Bye” and the eye contact they made for that second as she was walking away was an arrow shot into his chest at point blank range. He felt every syllable and knew that she meant good bye forever. And this was his sticking point, the reason for his subdued disposition and the cause of his silence. He could not forgive himself for not paying more attention to her and forever was not something he said much, even less, liked to have implied. It petrified him. Forever was too close, he dealt with it on a daily basis with his poor health and the threat of death seemingly around every corner.

He was taking his medication religiously but resented the amount of money that was made off of him and everyone like him. And figured that a cure was laughable as too many salaries are paid with proceeds made from the ridiculously overpriced HIV medications. The economy cannot afford a cure. He knew he was a cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry but continued to take his medication daily.

Dillon had an interest in life but after all these years it was beginning to wane. He had pneumonia more times than he could remember, meningitis, once, and found that, while making the disease manageable, the medication did nothing for the solitude. For him, the loneliness was worse than the actual disease. Even though, it was his own perception of the disease that created that feeling in him. He hadn’t been with a woman, in such a long time, all he remembered is, that they feel soft. But he would not let that encourage a relaxed attitude, in him, for the disease. He would happily die without ever being with a woman again rather than pass this scourge to another human being. His virus was HIS and he took complete responsibility for it. The way he saw it, this was his demon and he’d dive under a moving freight train before he’d allow another human being in the ring with it. This was his fight and he was determined to take it to the grave. Without so much as a tear, shed.

Dillon was enduring a long hospital stay with pneumonia, yet again, when he met the nurse. She worked with him everyday. He would casually chat with her ,when she first came, and found her to be attractive. But he never would imagine that there would exist a chance for anything more than casual talk, and he didn’t know that there was, but her presence put the thought in his mind. And that restored his zest for life, even if it did hurt. Pain let Dillon know he was alive and sometimes that was all he had. This was one of those times.

He would be returning home in a few days. Back to the solitude, where his emotional pain would be amplified. Dillon escaped into books and some television, but this time no story would be deep enough and television only slightly worked to plug the hole, on the best of days. None of the nurses would give up her name, so he wasn’t able to write her a note. He was left to try to bring her back into his life by other means. Which meant prayer and meditation, equal parts, and not mentioning the nurse to anyone. He was confident that he could bring her back, he brought back a rosary supposedly ‘lost’ in a hospital, nothing ever came to pass by doubting, he thought. But for his confidence to overcome his pain, he would have to forgive himself. And that would take some time.

Dillon had one friend that he met through the clinic that moved out of town. His name was Joel and he was a gay man Dillon called for advise. One day, while feeling low, he called him, they spoke, briefly, then Joel had to go and said that he’d call Dillon back. Dillon never received that call. Dillon called Joel, daily, but to no avail. Then he called him once a week, but no answer. After calling once a week for a month, he looked on the Internet and found that his dear friend had passed. But that’s how it is with AIDS, here one day, potentially gone the next. And, although saddened, Dillon was not shocked. He mourned his friend and confidant but it was kind of painful when his heart was already in mourning from overlooking the nurse.

For Dillon to stay healthy and one step ahead of the disease bound and determined to kill him, required, not just the taking of copious amounts of medication on a strict daily basis, but also injections to maintain his weight, one daily and one bi-weekly. He had a nurse that came to his apartment three times a week but she did his shopping and laundry, Dillon had to handle the injections on his own, which he loathed. And Dillon had a history of substance abuse, which was another daily battle he fought. But he was a fighter, refusing to be taken down by a questionable virus or his own hand. Anyone with AIDS who wants to live must be a relentless fighter. You will fight with everything you have and some things you don’t. Sometimes the battle is as simple as facing the day, alone, and with a secret that’s killing you, literally.

Addiction is another demon of Dillon’s that he would not wish upon anyone. The horror occurs when the substance stops working, then the worse kind of desperation sets in. As if your trusted friend stops answering your calls and refuses to see you. And, like the butt of someone’s cruel joke, you continue to use it. Or even worse, you move on to another substance, desperate to change your mental state. Until all substances fail to provide relief from yourself. But for Dillon, that moment could not come soon enough. It was like crossing the finish line in the most harrowing marathon one could imagine. It was the most dangerous time in his life. AIDS didn’t cause it, only exacerbated it. He was overjoyed to close that chapter of his life. And he did it with no reservations.

But the past few weeks have been the worst in recent memory and Dillon wanted to hide. He wanted out of this disease or out of his life. And Dillon had a method for achieving one. And after five years, it would be a breath of fresh air, or it would kill him. It’s a roll of the dice. For a momentary release he would need to risk his life. Luckily, Dillon’s sense surfaced and he realized that getting loaded would not bring the nurse any closer, nor would it bring Joel back. Dillon bought a half gallon of Butter Pecan ice cream and called it a night, thankful the desire didn’t blossom into something else. But prior to the nurse, cravings rarely ended with such positive results. He was getting better at coping with the urges that are par for the course. He had plenty of skills in his quiver.

The following day, Dillon returned to his regular grind, which was only a grind to him. To practically everyone he ever knew, it would be called a vacation. But he’s been doing it so long, the days of the week meant nothing to him. And he didn’t frolic on the beach, anymore. So, he meditated upon waking. Then he cooked breakfast and was off to the library and then the rare book store, where Dillon ordered out of print books. He read existential philosophy and books on revolution. His latest acquisition was Sartre on Cuba, it was the best of both worlds. The Cuban revolution as experienced by the French existentialist, Jean Paul Sartre.

While at the book store, Dillon perused the neatly arranged shelves, then accidentally bumped into a woman.
“Excuse me.” the lady said.
“I’m sorry, I wan’t paying attention. My name’s Dillon.” he said.
“And mine is Cynthia.” Cynthia said as she was sucked into a stare by a curious Dillon.

Her eyes were fantastically deep. She was a student at the local community college and caught Dillon’s eye, even though he was not looking, by any means. She was petite, polite and a pretty brunette with wild looking long hair. She asked for Dillon’s help when she needed a book on the upper shelf. Dillon obliged and when, each turned to meet the other, their eyes met, it was as if the moment was as predictable as a sunrise. They held, eye to eye, for a good five seconds, neither afraid of being caught looking. It was too late in the game to be bashful. Dillon learned from the nurse not to let opportunity pass by. Even if he did it wrong, he had to do something. The audible conversation wasn’t half as loud as their body language, which was threatening to become something more than language. They were only making small talk, audibly, but on a vibration level, Dillon had to restrain himself. He was accustomed to only being intimate with his eyes. And he felt guilty for looking into so many women without their knowing how far Dillon could see. He wanted to be where the substance lies. He handed her the book but pulled back when she reached for it so she would look at his eyes again.

“Look, I’m not that forward of a guy but I think... that...we need each other...I mean, I’m sorry. Please excuse me.” Dillon said, then felt stupid and childish. That’s not even what he meant to say.

“No! There’s no need for an excuse. That was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen” Cynthia said.
“I didn’t mean to say--.” Dillon said and then was cut off.

“Don’t take anything back! That was beautiful...just leave it alone.” Cynthia answered. “If you’re so sure,” She pulled a pencil out of her pocket and scribbled on the title page of her text book then ripped it out and handed it to Dillon, “call me later.” Then she gave her eyes back to Dillon, who’s baby blues, now, contrasted with the ruddy complexion of his blushing skin, but he could not pull his eyes away. This time the he was naked, and Dillon had no shame.

“Umm...OK.” a bewildered Dillon said.
“It was a pleasure meeting you.” Cynthia clutched her books to her chest and offered her free hand for Dillon to shake.
“The pleasure was all mine. Thank you.” Dillon said as his hand devoured her’s in an awkward shake.
And Cynthia turned and walked away, but this time Dillon didn’t let her go without doing something, even if it was clumsy. At least he knew Cynthia’s name.

Seth4473
September 2nd, 2014, 06:58 PM
How long did this take you?

gokedik
September 2nd, 2014, 08:28 PM
How long did this take you? I haven't even posted the end, yet, but since you asked a very intense week, and then another week editing. Reading it for wards so many times...so I read it backward after I went forward @ 2am even. Thank you for reading, I appreciate your time

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How long did this take you? I haven't even posted the end, yet, but since you asked a very intense week, and then another week editing. Reading it for wards so many times...so I read it backward after I went forward @ 2am even. Thank you for reading, I appreciate your time