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.

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