Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Billy Brents wasn't my age, nor was he anyone I hung out with. I think he was my brother's age and our families go way back.
I first really paid attention to him when he played basketball at the high school I used to go to. He was probably about 8-9 years behind me.
I remember he was a light-skinned, freckle faced cutie and his sister was the female version of him.
He was a friend of a friend's younger brother. Cool people.
I wasn't surprised to hear that after graduation, he moved (all who can, do, even for a little while) to Florida.
A couple of years passed before the next time I saw Billy. I was in the grocery store and he introduced me to his boyfriend. I was a bit surprised, but no biggie. I was more surprised to hear that he'd moved back home.
I was saddened to learn days later, that he had moved back home because he had full blown AIDS.
Did I go and sanitize the clothes I'd worn the day I hugged him? Or wash my skin with bleach? No. What he had, couldn't be "caught" by touching, hugging or even breathing the same air he breathed. I felt for him though, because he was so young.
The next time I saw Billy, it was clear that his health was getting the best of him, but still he smiled when he saw me and still, I hugged him because he was still the same old Billy.
Although we were never best buddies, I'd like to think I made some type of impact on him just by treating him the same way I always had and not judging his choices, after all,they were HIS, not mine.
I would hope that if someone you know and/or love, is gay or has contracted HIV or AIDS, that you would remember the person they were and the person they are is still one and the same and that you wouldn't look down on them.
I see ya freckle face...