My best friend Kit was a bit of a twit before he got sick, but
he was brilliant and passionate about gay liberation.
Our friendship was based on mutual geekiness.
Kit tinkered with a Mac or a Tandy while I wrote poetry and
listened to Pattie Smith through my headphones.
It was the third year of the AIDS epidemic.
We sat over coffee at the Cafe Flore on a bright
Mediterranean day in San Francisco.
Kit opened his backpack and pulled out a small computer.
It looked like a large calculator.
Kit said that HIV had not infected all gay men.
He suspected that HIV was sexually transmitted, but at that
time no one was certain.
We both knew many men who had died and even more who were sick.
Kit wanted to know what they had in common.
He questioned a small sampling of men and now he questioned me.
I hate needles.
I hate acid. Poppers smell like dirty feet.
I don’t drink.
Then Kit asked me about sex.
Most of it’s icky, I replied.
Kit turned the computer around and showed me a bell curve.
It peaked in the late 1980s and declined in the 1990’s.
Kit said that what looked like new infections were actually
old ones that had advanced to end stage AIDS.
He explained that the virus had already infected most of the men in our age group who were going to die and that as they died the cases in our age group would drop.
Kit said that I would live and he would die.
Two years later Kit was diagnosed with AIDS and two years after that he died.
Kit took his own life when AIDS took his eyesight.
He had survived three bouts of Pneumocystis.
His skin was covered with Kaposi’s lesions and the lesions invaded his internal organs.
The last time I saw Kit I took his hand and told him that I was
going to miss him.
He replied that he loved me so much he’d haunt me.
We laughed together one last time and said goodbye.
Kit had introduced me to Billie Holiday.
He said that she sang from her soul.
This song is for Kit:
Billie Holiday – I’ll Be Seeing You