eighty-sixedthis is not the copy of the book I bought a few weeks after meeting David. (he was horrified to see a stack of these some years later in the bargain bin, and bought up the whole stack!) But I remember him being genuinely surprised that I didn't know he was an "award-winning" author - the way he said it was in quotes, too - just so I knew he didn't take himself so seriously. I secretly bought the book a few weeks later, not wanting him to know, in case I hated it. But of course, I gobbled it up, reading it in about 2 days. We weren't best friends, but we were good ACT UP buddies; sitting together at meetings, on bus rides to demonstrations, in "affinity groups" together, that sort of thing. The first time we slept together was one of those multiple demonstrations days, and we had just finished yelling at Al D'Amato's office for about an hour. His apartment was nearby, and he invited me over for a shower and blueberries. This was the closest we got to sex; it never actually happened, even though friends of mine (including a boyfriend later) would tease me about it relentlessly. We made out a bit, fed each other blueberries, and then, surprisingly, took separate showers. Then he confronted the issue - sex - saying my having a boyfriend made him hesitate, and maybe we shouldn't, but can't we just cuddle up and take a nap. You can't imagine a better man to hold while napping.
He would send me postcards from out of town when he was doing his book tours, and even post cards when he was in town, as he knew how much I loved them. And there would always be some flirtatious line, like "Marry Me" and then, in smaller print, in parentheses - "we don't have to do "IT" - do we?" With all the fun and flirting, and scary moments during arrests and the awful boredom of dealing with courts and lawyers later, we never became close enough for him to take out his anger at having the disease on me, like he did towards his closest friends. In October of '94, he called me. He had been in and out of the hospital a lot over the past couple months, he sounded terrible, and he asked me to come right over. By the time I got over by cab, he was fine; he had gotten either terribly hot or terribly cold, and a nurse talked him through what to do over the phone while I was on my way. So we just sat together on his couch, him complaining about everything, but somehow he still showed he was glad I was there, and we just hung out, cuddled a bit, and he pointed to the group of books on the window ledge.
His new book wasn't in the stores yet, but he had about a dozen advance copies for his friends, and he grabbed one, and started to write in it. He didn't let me read it, just closed the book, and told me it was time for me to leave. Of course a few blocks down the street I had to read the inscription, and tears of course came flooding out, even though my conscious mind wouldn't let me believe this was the last marriage proposal I would get from him. He died a couple of weeks later. I miss him desperately.