A couple of days ago, I decided to hike around a nearby trail. Gosh, I have been doing that since moving to this side of San Francisco Bay. Used to do that more often during my younger years. Nowadays, I usually let the stair machine at the gym do the work, preferring the stare of sweaty bodies (rather than the outdoor’s green view). I am regressing again. What I am trying to say is that during this walk, memories came flooding to my consciousness of a long dead friend of mine. His name was Karl Distad. [NOTE: What I did not know until I started writing this, is that Karl’s birthday was in May. Spooky, nah.]
Karl befriended me at work. Those were the late Reagan years and the early Clinton years. Karl was the designated gay man at work whose job was to sniff out greenhorn newbie workers with a homosexual tendency. He circled around me for a couple of months until we decided to go out on a picnic lunch together at a nearby park. At that time, I had a beautiful red Fiat Spider convertible. We drove to the park in that car while my car’s cassette tape player played Pet Shop Boy music. After the picnic, Karl said: “You know, I knew you were gay the moment you started playing the Pet Shop Boys.” We became the greatest of friends. It was from Karl that I got the bug for travels to far away places. We were also airline junkies, discussing which airline had the cuties stewards and how we can get upgrades to business class by doing nothing. Those were the years when ground crew had enough authority to give you an upgrade if you dress nicely and ask politely. Now it is all different, everything is according to your status with the airline’s computer.
Karl also had a deep secret that he did not tell me until the later years. Yes, you guessed right my dear reader, he was infected with HIV…and the only drug available was AZT. All what AZT did was to slow the virus. Once the virus assimilated, it started to spread again. There were a couple of painful years to witness. I don’t know why I can write so methodologically now. Distance in time make past feelings hazy. Karl dealt with his end courageously. He continued traveling, even if that mean strapping himself to the airplane’s seat. He continued working until it was too obvious. I wish I could say that death came peaceful. But death never comes peaceful with humans. We do not allow humans to die peacefully. We insert tubes and chemicals until we can’t.
Karl did achieve some temporary immortality by staying in the reams of my memory. That will disappear once it is my turn.
Oh, yes, total 180 turn around on my story. What about “discrete” love? To only you whom I allow to see this page via Facebook: