I can’t selfishly allow myself to get too close to her again. Why should I hurt her by being a sometime boyfriend? I’m gay, and that’s not going to change, and even if I’m not seeing any guys, I can never give Ronna the whole commitment she needs. We can always be friends as long as we both realize that’s all we can be. It would just be much easier if I didn’t have intense sexual feelings for her.
Josh says the AIDS test experience has changed his life. He no longer thinks about chasing women but wants to settle down with just one woman. And he wants to have kids; when he thought he tested positive and was told he couldn’t have children, it drove him crazy.
I really like Dave. He told me he bought one of the first Apple II’s when he was 14 and that he used to be “a crazy kid, writing video game programs all night.” Dave is also a musician (the long blond hair cascading past his shoulders made that easy to figure out) and liked the Apple’s MIDI capabilities.
Josh got the word on his third AIDS test: “negative, negative, negative.” They now believe the first test was a clerical error. The doctors have told him there’s only an “infinitesimal chance” that these two negative tests are wrong, so now Josh feels he’s in the clear. As you’d expect, though, he now has tremendous sensitivity toward people with AIDS. And he plans to tell everyone not to take the antibody test.
“Rich, I tested positive,” he said. I couldn’t believe it. I said it must have been a mistake, that he should get retested, that it doesn’t mean he’ll get sick. Josh has never been an IV drug user, has never had a homosexual experience – he’s not in any risk group. “I know I’ll be dead in five years,” he told me.
I am rarely taken aback, but yesterday I was speechless for a moment when I was renewing my driver’s license and was asked, “Are you currently addicted to drugs?” “I’m sorry,” said the young woman behind the desk, “but we have to ask you this question.” “No, I’m not.” “Some people say yes,” she told me. It’s a wild world.
Josh has a case of FRAIDS. For the past six months, he’s had a purplish thing on his chest, and all of a sudden he thinks it may be Kaposi’s sarcoma. Because of all the recent publicity, Josh started thinking about all the women he’s slept with, wondering who was most likely to give him AIDS.
Scott flattered my vanity by asking if I’d been working out. We got into the Camaro – “This is the last car I’d expect you to be driving,” Scott said – and I took him down Commercial Boulevard to A1A and then along the Strip by the beach, where Scott was surprised at the young crowd.
Josh now realizes that Chloe was deceiving him for six months and he feels both sorrow and rage. For example, he and Chloe had a running joke that she was having an affair with The Refrigerator, the Chicago Bears football player: “How could she have joked about being with The Refrigerator the night before when she really was with this other guy?”
When I saw the self-addressed stamped envelope from the Florida Review, I could tell by the thinness of its contents that they’d accepted my story. The editor said it will appear in their summer issue and they’ll pay me $90. After six months and a dozen rejections, this story finally got accepted.