World AIDS Day 2009
More Than Just A Memory
It was a week and two days ago that I met you.
It was a late Sunday afternoon. I have to admit I was nervous to meet you but I thought you could use a hand or two. To be honest, I think I needed to see you more that day than you needed to see me. I needed a reason to escape my own world and reach out into a new one.
I ran into your cousin on the way in who helped me put on the appropriate garb. I walked in and introduced myself and held your hand lightly. I wasn’t sure how much you would say and how much of the conversation would depend on my contribution. Words allude me sometimes and I’m not very good at small talk but I do like to listen. I mentioned I often work in silence to take the pressure off myself and then I extended my hands to your feet. They were swollen and covered in cushioned booties fastened by velcro. I worked around them and eventually peeled them off. I was maybe too gentle at first but soon I gave you my weight.
I listened to your deep breaths and every so often I would catch myself holding mine. I took some deep breathes too. They were not as audible as yours but they brought me back into the room. The room itself was silent and I could barely hear any street traffic or voices or ticking of clocks or anything else for that matter. I think you fell asleep briefly: your head gracefully fell to your left which quickly woke you up. “I’m making you fall asleep,” I said. You didn’t respond and quite slowly and simply, you found a new position to rest your head.
Our time together was short, you had another visitor after me. I squeezed your hand before I left and asked you if you wanted me to come back. You responded in the only way you could and I was happy to hear it.
Next time will be easier I thought. It will be a little less awkward, I will be a little less awkward. I will think of something more inspirational to say besides “take care,” I will say all the right things.
One week and one day ago I found out I wouldn’t get that chance again with you. I wanted to say thanks for being there for me that day. I needed to reach out and you so graciously let me in.
Please visit www.worldaidsday.org.