Article: 261654 of talk.bizarre
From: (Caitlin Burke)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Re: Day Without Art
Date: 2 Dec 1995 16:12:10 -0800
Organization: Magpie on the Gallows
Lines: 54
Message-ID: <49qq0q$>
References: <49nbga$34fu@lamar.ColoState.EDU> <49nm7r$>
Status: O

This is something I meant to write about on the day it
happened.  And maybe I did and don't remember it.  And
maybe I did and the details are different this time, but 
I won't forget the seed of this memory.

I was in the video store one evening, and I looked for
quite a long time.  I had thought I'd get "Marat/Sade",
but I was uncommitted, and I wanted something funny in
any case.  I settled on "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are
Dead", a play I'd always loved and even once seen performed.

When I came out of the video store, the blond and beautiful
Dominique was waiting for me.  He had a dog with him, and,
yes, his name was really Dominique.  At least, it was always
pronounced that way.  At any rate, he'd always been a cat
person, so I asked about the dog, and he told me about his 
current pets.  He was an extremely animal-oriented person.

And then he told me he'd seen me in the video store and had
been waiting at the door so he could catch me as I left.

I waited for it, and Dominique told me that Brian, a mutual
friend of ours, had recently died of AIDS.  My hold on the
video tightened a bit; it was Brian I'd seen the play with.

Brian was exquisite and elegant.  He loved precious stones 
and perfume.  He had a brilliant, understated style and 
the most gracious manner of any person I had ever known.

I said I had been thinking about Brian, that I'd meant to
call him several times, and now I wished I had.  It was my
first encounter with the achy regret of missing one's last
chance to see and talk to someone.

And Dominique told me it was just as well I hadn't.  He said 
that Brian was so disgusted by his deterioration that he
refused to let any of his friends see him.  Doubly sad, he
died tended only by his parents, who had been alternately
ambivalent and hostile since learning he was gay.  His
mother less so; I hope she showed a gentle and loving face
to her son in the end.

I didn't know Brian particularly well, but his serene 
pleasure in beautiful things and his frank and simple ease
in our slight friendship were precious things to me at a
very difficult time in my life.  The very basis of our
acquaintance was his acceptance of me at a time when I 
felt very unacceptable indeed.  And I know it's selfish,
but I especially regret that he could not let people like
me return that favor to him in his hour of self-loathing.