Kevin, my long lost friend, is dying, for real this time.
Kevin has been defying death his whole life it seems.
Kevin has had HIV for decades now and all the while has been drinking like a fish and smoking like a chimney.
He wasn’t going to die of AIDS, you see, he was going to live with HIV.
We’re not Facebook friends and we’re not in touch, so I know this more or less indirectly, having seen some alarming posts on the wall of mutual friends, and then having done a little digging on my own.
I will say for Kevin that he has always lived full-tilt-boogie, balls-to-the-wall.
He is a charmer and the most maddening sumbitch I have ever known.
He is generous to a fault and a world-class prevaricator.
He loves with his whole heart and can hate that way, too, if someone hurts one of his.
He has delusions of being able to work the hoo-doo, or claims that he can, in any case.
Recently, it seems, he contracted an infection in his heart, and that was cleared up and then his liver failed.
He’s always been a dilettante of the highest degree.
Now he is in hospice and doesn’t know his elbow from his asshole, due to the copious amounts of morphine he’s now allowed to have.
Kevin was always happiest when he was drunk out of his gourd, calling me at three or four in the morning to come collect him and whatever tank of a car he had from some gay bar and take him to a waffle joint for some grease and grits.
I once had an uptight roommate who, upon being awakened by the two of coming back home, screeched at him, “I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY NOW!” He mildly replied, “Yes, darling, I’m ecfuckingstatic.”
That was Kevin, never a raised voice, never a hair out of place, even in the worst of circumstances, never rude to anyone, not even the officer who had his car towed that evening.
I have never known a man who could smoke so many cigarettes and drink so much coffee in such a short span of time, nor one who could sleep so peacefully at night.
I do not know a person more loved than Kevin.
We have not been in touch in years, for reasons too ugly to detail.
I hope that the rest of his journey is peaceful and that he is stoned and dreaming of drag queen fairies.
When he dies, I shall send flowers and throw jewels in his coffin. He’d love that.