I have been in “lockdown” for 18 days. Roughly. There was a day or two in those early days where I went to the gym. My boyfriend and I have driven to the beach, and once into the Angeles National Forrest, exploring the mountains. I go for walks. And bike rides.
And we are finding ways to have fun, sexy adventures. On Sunday night we joined a zoom circle jerk group, jerking off with 15 other guys. During our drive through the mountains we pulled over in the flats to pee. He ended up fucking me over a rock, the expanse of sky and mountains breathtaking.
One of the things I’ve learned during this time: I’m not built for cynicism. I’m not built for fear. Even as things are getting scary, even in those moments, alone in bed, when I can’t breathe, sure I am dying, afraid about money, about my career, I still keep falling back on hope.
I find that most people are being super kind, friendly.
Here’s a story: a week ago I was at Pavilions. A man and I reached for the same last jar of pasta sauce. I pulled my hand back, saying sorry, and he smiled at me, took three jars of the same pasta sauce out of his cart and handed them to me.
“I already have too many,” he said.
I was in my teens and early 20’s when AIDS hit New York City. I watched as many of my mother’s friends died. Young gay men, a community devastated.
One of these men, David, before he got sick, told me,
“We are all learning about who we are right now. All of us. The whole world. It’s easy to be nice and kind, to stay hopeful, when the world is on your side. It’s almost impossible when the world turns on you. But that’s when you need it the most. It’s these times that define us. What kind of a man do I want to be?”
Before he got sick David was tall and muscular, beefy and hairy. The last time I was home my mom showed me a picture of him right before he died. He looked emaciated: so skinny he was almost unrecognizable. His cheeks were sunken in.
He was sitting outside, by the river, smiling. That smile will forever stay with me. That smile is the man I want to be in this time.
18 days and it’s not easy. My Facebook page is filled with people who are sick, know someone who is sick, posts about people who have died, non-stop information about the virus. I find myself getting annoyed at small little things that happen in my house. Annoyed at my roommates, my boyfriend, the dog and cats: but then I remember how lucky I am. That we are all here. Together.
There is a lot to be afraid of. And then there is that picture of David, who knew he was dying, but smiling anyway. And there is a lot to be hopeful about too.
Even if it’s the fucking apocalypse I have to believe there is still beauty.
My best friend Amy taught me this very important mantra, that I keep written on an index card on my desk, and as a screenshot on my phone:
What if it’s all just going to be ok?
These words save me in times of doubt and fear.
And I’m really glad my boyfriend still wants to fuck me in parks. That’s gotta count for something.