Monday, May 18, 2009

December 1990 The passing of David Patrick Hayes

One December night I was in Denton visiting Peter. I got a call from David. He said he just wanted to tell me he loved me. I asked if he was ok and he assured me he was fine. I went to sleep. I woke to Peter's phone ringing again at 7am. It was Frank. He was crying and saying I needed to come home because David was taken away by an ambulance to Parkland Hospital. I called the hospital and was told he was in critical condition. On the way to Dallas to the hospital the song Babe by Styx came on the AM station of the 1981 Datsun 310 I was driving. The words to the song brought tears to my eyes and I remember hoping the song wasn't a sign of what was coming. It was December and it had just gotten extremely cold for the first time. Peter and I made small talk about David and the weather but mostly our eyes stayed glued to the road. We arrived at the hospital, parked and jogged across the skywalk that connects the parking garage to the hospital. I noticed how gray the sky was as we were coming to the end of the long glass walkway. I was getting a really bad feeling after hearing the song on the way, the below freezing temperature, the gloomy sky. I just didn't want to deal with anything other than David being ok. I didn't think I could deal with anything else. When we got to emergency and asked about him we got uneasy looks from a couple of nurses that were telling us where to go. Another nurse had a hard time making eye contact with me when giving me these instructions, "Go down the hall and through the first door on your left someone will be there shortly to meet you." Then she asked, "Are you a family member of Mr. Hayes?" Without any hesitation I answered, "Yes Ma'am, he is my ex lover." She seemed like she was hesitant but I'm sure the look on my face was enough for her to ignore the rules this time. Peter and I looked at each other as if to say, "oh no.....no." After about five minutes a very sweet looking but serious woman came through a different door opposite the one we had entered. She asked if she could help us. I told her we were needing to know the status of David Patrick Hayes. She paused as if it was the first time she had ever done this. Then she simply said, "I'm so sorry." another shorter pause followed and then, "He's already passed." "I'm sorry." She had such a genuine demeanor I remember wondering if she was trained to be that way or if it came natural. I turned around to leave and noticed Peter crying too. He took me home and it seems like Peter was going out of town so he dropped me off. Frank and Mary moved David's belongings down to my apartment while I put them in the right place. I didn't think it was a good idea to go down there to Davids apartment. So Frank and Mary moved the stuff into the hallway and down to my place three doors down. His was the last door on the left as you went out the front of the building. I took the back stairs out to the parking lot anyway and had no reason to go down there anymore. Frank said when the apartment manager Linda woke him early that morning she was banging on the door. She wanted him to watch Cloudy and Lil Bit until I got home. I used to leave the dogs with David when I went to Peter's to keep him company. When Frank went over to pick up the dogs the ambulance had just left. He said there was blood all over the bathroom where David had cut himself from wrist to elbow. Supposedly he did it in the bathtub then somehow called 911 and was in his bed when they got there. He died shortly after he got to Parkland.

Once all of David's belongings were in my apartment I was so tired and still not believing what had happened. Frank and Mary were concerned about me staying alone in my place but I assured them I would be ok. I thought I would be really freaked out and lonely when I was finally left alone but I was totally fine. I looked around the room at all the framed art and other nice things that belonged to David. There were books, a wood frame chair, some type of tapestry that is very old, a 14th century guilded wood mirror, linens, a television. As I was looking through all of this I realized that the aroma of patchouli and leather, the smell of David's apartment, had filled the air. David always wore patchouli oil and had once spilled it inside a leather bag. I picked up the bag and it was still stained from the spill. I was so relaxed as I laid back onto the bed. I wondered if David could see me laying there in my candle lit apartment in complete silence. If he wasn't a spirit there in the room watching over me then where was he? Why do we all have to die wondering if we will ever meet again, I wondered. I hoped the universe was taking care of him. I felt oddly comfortable suddenly, as if everything was going to be OK. I was relieved that David's suffering was over. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Summer 1990 Meeting Peter

One night I was out at the Village Station on Cedar Springs, and in almost the same way I met David, I met Peter Nilsson. I was walking out and he was going in. We saw each other before he went inside and we said hellos. A few seconds later he came out of the exit door I had my eyes fixed on. We laughed and talked and looked for his friend Annika who he had lost inside the club earlier. We searched inside and out until we decided to sit on the curb in front of the club and get to know each other. Surely she would find us there. Peter was from Sweden, which I knew very little about. I wondered how many guys over in Sweden looked like Peter because he was smokin' hot. Blonde hair, blue eyes, awesome body and tan. His accent was so unlike anyone I had ever heard. Being from the Falls, with only one stamp in the pages of my passport, I thought his accent was so sexy. We talked about the exact location of Sweden on a map and the exact location of Wichita Falls on a map. Peter's friend Annika came out of the club finally and they had their reunion. They spoke Swedish to one another until he introduced us. Annika looked me over good with a protective glare. She was blonde as well with a thick mane of hair down her back. She was beautiful. Modelesque. I agreed to ride to Denton with them. Peter was attending UNT studying to be a doctor and Annika was visiting for a few months from Sweden. I had a tape of some new slow beat music I was into in my pocket. We drove with windows down in the cool night air down interstate 35 towards Denton. I remember the tape having "I Wish It Would Rain Down" by Jackie Moore. It was a remake that was formerly done by Phil Collins. It had the popular "Soul II Soul" beat everybody was using in dance music at the time. We had a lot of laughs getting to know each other and the three of us started hanging out all the time. Annika and Peter would act so crazy and speak in Swedish a lot so I would laugh at them as they danced some weird looking dance. Then they would fall down laughing. A few weeks went by. One night we went out to Trash Disco at Club A. Annika was burning girls with cigarettes that pushed her or were rude to her. When they would get passed her a bit she would calmly place the cherry between their shoulder blades. I know it's mean but these girls were always royal bitches so I couldn't help but laugh my ass off. They would say ouch or scream or just turn around and glare. Annika would just stare them coldly in the face and say, "Oh, sorry." I finally suggested we go back to my place before a riot broke out. Once we were back there David came down. He seemed to be feeling better and was very social. He and Annika and Peter hit it off very well. I was happy about that. Mary and Frank came down and joined us too. At daybreak someone (most likely Peter) suggested we all go on a picnic down by Turtle Creek. David was excited about that because he was wanting give Peter and I haircuts and loved the idea of cutting our hair outside by the creek. So he went down to his place to get all the barber stuff and we packed up a blanket and other picnic stuff. After picking up wine and food from the grocery store we headed to the creek. It was so beautiful that morning. David was more excited than I had seen him in a long time and he looked great as well. He reminded me of a kid at Christmas he was having so much fun. He brought a chair and all the necessary hair cutting supplies complete with spray bottle of water and a cape. We got our hair cuts while talking about everything from religion to RuPaul. We had a great time and Peter and Annika loved David. I remember after Annika had gotten to know David and became aware of his HIV status she came to me and wanted to know if David was OK. I told her that I'd seen him get sick and overcome it so many times but I didn't know how well or sick he really was. She got tears in her eyes and said, "I hope he is ok, I'm so afraid for him." I was surprised to see so much sensitivity from Annika. I was used to a much more guarded Annika but I was glad to see she had a big heart after all. We all got really close that summer and had some amazing nights partying and laughing. We usually stayed up playing music and talking well past dawn. Annika got so attached to being here in the US and decided she wanted to move here. We got this crazy idea to get married so she could legally move here. We decided to put it off until her next trip over in the spring. It was sad when she left. That's the thing with long trips, everybody gets so attached that it is harder to say goodbye.

Friday, May 01, 2009

1989-1990

My Apartment at the "Alamo" was #206. It was a room divided by curtains (from ceiling to floor) that David had inherited from the Starck Club. My bed and three windows were on the other side of the curtains with the living area, turntables and wall of records in the front by the entrance. On the left was the kitchen and bathroom. Very small but that didn't stop me from having people over and playing music. Many nights most of my neighbors (and whoever else happened to be around) would pile into my efficiency apartment to talk about various subjects, listen to new music from the record pool, get ready to go out and never make it, stay up all night and then pretend we hadn't been up all night but whatever we did we always managed to laugh a lot. I guess with all that was going on in the world around us everything seemed dark and so did the future. We didn't even know if we had a future. AIDS seemed to be taking so many people and it was starting to be more and more people we knew. How would we survive this scary disease? Depression was setting into the deepest, unexplored parts of my soul. I tried to stay upbeat and busy. It wasn't working anymore and I couldn't stop coughing. Is it coming? Am I getting sick? For the next two months or so I fought depression and mild flu like symptoms. Then Christmas 1989. I drove home still feeling down. I had my bishon frise, Cloudy, with me. We slept most of the time at my parents on the couch watching TV. Cloudy would sleep on his back between my arm and the side of my belly. I always felt a little better when I went to sleep with him. Safe for some reason, as if he could protect me. LOL. I don't remember too much about being there that Christmas but as I was leaving my Mom handed me a cassette tape that had belonged to my grandmother, Bop. I looked at the cassette called optimism and thought I would give it a try on the way home. I listened to the tape front and back all the way back to Dallas. I was alone, except for Cloudy, so I really concentrated on listening to the recording. One side was ocean waves that supposedly had subliminal effects and the other side was a man talking about taking deep breaths and imagining you are looking up at the sky. Stuff like that. I know this sounds so crazy but I when I got home something seemed odd or different but I couldn't put my finger on it so I went to sleep. The next morning I woke up and realized I wasn't sick anymore. Better than that I wasn't depressed either. At first I thought, "Oh don't get too excited it will probably be back later in the day." Days went by and I never got depressed feeling or felt sick. Then weeks. Then one day I remembered the cassette and wondered if that could have been how I suddenly felt well. I had really been sceptical of metaphysics/hypnotism/subliminal healing or anything of the like but the experience definitely was enough to open my mind to it. A few months later I got up enough nerve to go get the HIV test. I either was positive or negative and I needed to know. I had been running into more uncertainty as the months passed that I ignored my status. Frank and I planned to be each other's support and get tested in Wichita Falls. Actually I asked Frank to go with me and he said he would get tested too. We drove down one afternoon to Wichita Falls and to the flower shop where my Mom worked. When I got there and saw her I started crying. She told me it would be ok. I wondered how she could have came to that determination. I didn't see any way it could turn out OK. Mother drove us there to the health clinic. The nurse took my blood and said, "Thank you, your results will be available by phone in a few days." I was stunned to find out that it would not be today that we found out the results of our test. I was relieved. I felt better. It was done..............not so much. Weeks turned into months and I still had not called in to get my results.