Remembering You by Ian Charles Clarke

I sat across the table from you in the Nottingham Gay Social Group and remember you all chatting away. We all had a laugh and a cuppa and decided on our future events. I was unaware of the pain some of you were going through, as you never showed your despair, you still hugged and kissed me and held my hand in times of trouble.

Some of you lit up the room, even me – playing the fool with our flirtatious ways, and you never giving away the secret you hid. We went out afterwards and had a drink, a dance and a fool around. I was aware of HIV and the AIDS epidemic at the time, being a member of the Nottingham Gay Switchboard.

I was not prepared for the time when I had to face the fact you wouldn’t be here with me anymore. I had hidden it deep inside, as I loved having you all around me, for each of you were special and unique in different ways.

The days came and went. Hearing that you had passed away, my eyes filled with sadness and at each of the funerals I attended it became much clearer, that the secret you hid was that you carried this virus.

Now I know why – I was in my twenties, young and naïve and perhaps you thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t know the truth, (insert comma) as you didn’t want the same for me. However, twenty years later and now I have the virus in me.

So, remembering you all is poignant indeed. I lost my friends and now instead of kissing you goodnight, I light a candle on December the First and share the thoughts I have of you with friends. I will never forget each of you. Every day and night you sit in my heart like angels shining out light, telling the world to protect everyone from this plight and to bless the people now and then, knowing that they have all had a unique part to play in dealing with, and coming to terms with, HIV.

©2014 Ian Charles Clarke