Tony is in town. This means that I get to spend a couple of days with a man who has and shares my history. There’s a whole lot of not explaining who people are and even more laughing and not caring what the world thinks.
We’re heading to West Hollywood in a few hours to have a drink in honor of Steven. Tony’s not been back in something close to twenty years and so much of it has changed yet much of it never will. The men who brought us together have all died and none of them grew old. So there’s this notion that we’re about to waltz with two dozen ghosts who are dressed for white parties in Palm Springs while sporting deep tans and lots of hairspray. Like we have to revisit the place where it all began so that we can package it neatly in a box with a bow and hold hands and say, “There, now that’s done.”
But it’s never really done because you can’t undo your teens and your 20’s and you can’t pretend like it’s a normal life when you think about all the men you knew who died. It’s impossible to walk forward without fear when you’re holding hands with the last men standing after a plague. We’re going to do the impossible today.
It doesn’t matter that fears aren’t rational and it doesn’t matter that there are medicines. It doesn’t matter when your friends tell you they take Truvada. There are too many beautiful ghosts and some who died slowly and are firmly etched in my brain as skeletons with a bit of skin that was covered in festering wounds. Slow deaths are something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
So as I move ahead, as my husband and I walk into midlife hand in hand I find myself reevaluating things. With every upset and curve ball we’re thrown – and boy we’ve been thrown a few lately – I ask myself who it is that I would go to. Who inspires me and who gives me strength? Who do I want to emulate and who just drags it all down?
A few times a day I ask myself if this were my last day on earth is this how I’d want to be spending the time? Quite often I smile and return a tennis ball on the court. Sometimes I’m sitting next to my kids trying to decipher homework or just watching Friends on the DVR. Preparing dinner for my family can be a process infused with love or feel like a chore. I have the opportunity every day to infuse the love and I’m mostly getting it right but not every day. Right now I’ve got a poodle on my lap and cup of warm peppermint tea. So I ask myself, in the least morbid way possible, if I am doing what I should be doing. Am I taking this gift that I’ve been given, this perfect family and pampered existence (trust me, if you aren’t getting water from a well and carrying it on your head it’s a pampered existence), and am I making the best use of it?
Today the answer is yes. Today I’ll do some reflecting with a man I’ve loved since we were immortal and then we’ll move forward because that’s what we do.