Why the immediate attraction? Probably because even from 30 feet away in a dark gay bar, I could tell Jason was trouble and at the time I was subconsciously looking for boyfriends who were bad boys. He was actually the last of my troubled boyfriends and the only one with whom I decided to relax a little and try to enjoy the ride. By then I new better than to adopt the doomed-to-fail "I can help him" strategy. Not that I didn't try at least a little to help, I just knew better than to work for fundamental change or to try to be his guardian.
This worked for me because I learned things through doomed relationships with a handful of fucked up boyfriends just prior to Jason. Also, Jason was different in that his situation was more like a solid veneer of free spiritedness over a crumbling foundation compromised by drug use. It was the free spirit I fell in love with but I soon came to see the problems at the foundation and I began to distance myself. The relationship didn't immediately change in any outward way when this distance began to grow in me. Maybe this was because we never defined ourselves as boyfriends. Also, I knew that I needed to let him have his space and eventually that space grew larger and larger.
Our relationship as lovers dissolved entirely around the time Jason's Mom began to decline from a long battle with cancer. He left Austin and moved back home to Plano in order to be closer to his Mom. I helped him move and stayed in touch afterwards but we never were close again and went months without contact.
After his mother passed, Jason eventually moved back to Austin and some months later he learned he was HIV positive. Our contact had already grown more and more infrequent by this time because I'd begun a new relationship. He continued to move several more times, including about a year in New Orleans. The last time I saw him was when he and several others had just made it to Austin after surviving Hurricane Katrina.
That brings us to today’s e-mail from Jason’s sister about his condition. She’s letting everyone know that now is the time to say goodbye. I'm left feeling guilty that I haven't spent any time with him in so long but I'm trying to shake this off in order to better deal with what's happening. Guilt of this sort just gets in the way of making the best of the time that's left.
. . .
Several hours have passed now since I initially drafted this post and in that time I made a call to Jason's sister. I'm going to visit on Sunday.
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