Spared, Blessed and Fully Awake
Story by Alexandra Billings
When it happened it was not a surprise. It was not out of left field and it was not unexpected. When it happened it was happening to everyone. Everyone I knew. Everyone around me. A black curtain had been thrown over the heads of us all and smothered us all in a cloud of decaying flesh and bloodied foot prints.
And the stench of the AIDS virus infiltrated the inside of my being and it is still potent. It is still thriving. Because I still have AIDS.
And I have outlived most everyone I knew, and we were in our 20s and we were in our 30s and we were still young and still having sex and still doing drugs and still running and jumping and skipping and singing and being queer. And yet one by one, we were being ticked off like ducks at a carnival. In the heart. In the brain. In the limbs.
And for some unknown reason . . . some of us were spared. And it is daily. And it is not gone. And it is getting worse. And it is still potent and it is still fresh. And it still lives in me and one day it will kill me. I know that.
But I am here and I am present and I am fully awake. And I love my life and I am married to the greatest human on the planet and I have spirits around me that bathe me in light.
And so I am truly blessed. Not that I have this disease, but that I learn from it. I remember very well when it happened. Because it seems like it happened yesterday.