This morning on Facebook, Humans of New York were owning the internet with the first of three posts.
Along with many others I tracked it through the day for the whole story. The second post continued as follows:
The third and final post at lunchtime today gave me the terrible sads.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties on a Friday night, after dinner we would head over to family friends for tea. They were the best of times. The same group of people, some related, some friends, different ages, different stages, different everything, and we’d sit around a dining room table and laugh and live and laugh.
One of those people was Paulie – a friend of the middle daughter of the family – who soon became a favourite on my Friday nights – his wicked sense of humour and beautiful soul were captivating.
In 1993 I went to live in Israel for a year. Three months into my trip my mother called to tell me Paulie had AIDS. At that point in time, no-one in South Africa even distinguished between HIV and AIDS and it was a death sentence because he’d already begun to get sick. It was punch in the chest stuff with a sledge hammer.
On my return, Friday nights continued as they were, along the way I met and started dating The Artist. Paulie’s health didn’t improve but he was functioning. The Artist and I got engaged in 1996. Paulie’s reaction when I called to tell him was “Am I catering your party?” Yes sir, you absolutely are, I replied.
On the morning, he was not only catering, but styling too and at 10am a truckload of red roses arrived. With massive thorns. We looked at each other over the mound and I silently picked up the scissors and cut every single thorn off every single rose. Because in those days people were so afraid.
That afternoon the food was stunning but some people didn’t eat. Because in those days people were so afraid. On the one hand I was so insulted and so angry. But in those days, people were so afraid.
Paulie didn’t make it to my wedding as few months later, he was too sick. But I keep the sunflower display platter he gave me in my kitchen on a stand where I see it every day – always have, always will. He passed a few months later and the world was a lesser place.
Always in my heart.
Love and light