Gloria Nieto

Today is World AIDS Day

Filed By Gloria Nieto | December 01, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day

As if I could ever forget them, ever, in my lifetime. The men, women, and children who died of AIDS over the course of this pandemic.

Some were the men I was supposed to be growing old with right now. We should be having barbecues in the summer and exchanging cards and presents over a lunch filled with laughs and teasing and lots and lots of love.

We had one like that about 15 years ago. I can't believe they have been gone that long. Gary, Chet and Jay, Jo and I having lunch at the harbor. It would be our last together. Chet and Jay were dead within six months of that lunch. Gary hung around for a while longer.

Their beautiful faces are still alive in my mind, the pain in my heart is still there, too. Their wonderful laughs ring in my ear still but sometimes I hear their screams from the cancer and the death rattle from their chests. It is all rolled up into the many memories of living and loving in the age of AIDS.

Many people have not known a life where there was no AIDS. I do, the nights filled with disco balls, Gloria Gaynor, Sylvester making us all feel so real. Lots of drinking, lots of dancing, and places where the lesbians didn't go. The jet-stream of liberation turned into our own trail of tears.

Now with drugs and much better knowledge of the disease, no longer are the walking cadavers on the streets with that "look." Drugs brought us a lot: longer lives, greater hopes for a cure and a further demand for medical advances. Will we see a cure or a vaccine in our lifetimes? I hope with every fiber of my being that we will see it.

So in their memory today I call their names: Gary, Chet, Jay, the Pineapple Princess, Larry, Ray, Wayne, Vickie,Margarita, Will the data base queen, Gryphon, Robert, Leonard, John, Steven.

I miss all of you. Thank you for the love and lessons. I will see you on the other side.

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