Thirteen Years: Answers To Questions

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert

Answers To Questions

Continued from… Taking It Day By Day

Annie wrote Isaac a long letter in which she also told him Myra was off from work, since she was depressed. Myra cried most of the day, and she didn’t feel well at all. Annie was curious to know whether Isaac had lately heard anything from Myra or Joe. She also uttered her concern about Isaac’s financial position if the medical board would go through. She knew there were only two things he could choose from: being medically boarded or an early retirement. Annie advised him to sign the papers only once he knew exactly what the financial risks were.

Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 11:45:13

Hello there dear friends,

Thank you for your email. I will try to answer all your questions in the last two mails.

I use a sleeping tablet every night. I don’t think it is necessary, but I am so used to the tablets, it feels strange not to take 1 or 2 or sometimes more. I don’t sleep during the day, so it is not the reason I cannot get to sleep at night. I think it will be okay. I can try not to take the tablets for a night or two to see how it goes.

I have not given Doctor Bailey the address of the hospital in Rotterdam yet. She is so busy with her arrangements for her trip to England that I am afraid she might not pay enough attention to the letter. I will give her the address when she returns.

I received an e-mail from Joe, in which he also told me about Myra. Myra must not let things get the better of her. The war was worse — people died there. I will send her a greeting card one of these days.

I have two options — a package deal or a medical board. With the package deal, I get a lump sum, which I then should invest to get a monthly interest from which I should be able to live. With the medical board, I will get a lump sum and a monthly pension, which will be better. However, neither option gives me enough money in the month to live on.

What arrangements are you making? You can answer this question, can you not?

Another thought has crossed my mind. Here I am in this big house. I don’t even use both my toilets, let alone all the rooms. I pay a fortune on the down payment of the house. No matter what I choose — the package deal or the medical board — I’m not going to be able to pay for my house. I only really need one room. Nevertheless, as I said, the thought has only just crossed my mind.

I have been busy over here, unpacking a sailor’s chest, where I store all my special books and videos. My testament reads that Robyn may have this chest with its contents.

Lots of love,

In her next e-mail, Annie had to make sure she took away Isaac’s suspicions. She was afraid in her last e-mail he had read something between the lines, possibly giving away their plan to visit him. She told him she was only joking about all the arrangements she had to make. She pretended she had exaggerated their planning for their vacation for the summer holidays.

Something else Annie told Isaac was she had letters back from both the attorney she had written, and the AIDS foundation. Both of them had more or less the same answer: it would be difficult for Isaac to get treatment in the Netherlands. Only the attorney had one positive point: if Isaac had British ancestors, which he suspected because his mother was English, he might get a British passport and then he could come to Europe. However, the process to get all this arranged is long, and the main question was: did Isaac have enough time?

The latter only a thought, not something that Annie included in her writing to Isaac.

Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 17:26:15

Hi there you,

A redhead is typing on this side. Not one grey hair to be seen! I went to the hairdresser today. She first wanted to make me blonde again, but then she asked if I would like to go red. That is what I am now: fiery and red. It is a myth that blonde-haired people have more fun. Maybe the fun will find me now.

Before I went to the Netherlands, you told me about a book you were writing. You never gave it to me to read. I guess I had upset your lives too much. Speaking of writing, Jeanne said she didn’t receive a letter from you. Still about writing: Kathy wants me to write a book about my life. I would not even know where to start.

You asked who Robyn is. I met him when he did his compulsory military service. We became friends and we still have contact with each other. He is gay too, but we never had something going on.

Take care and LOTS of love,

It was Easter weekend. Enjoying the lovely weather, Annie and Jacques sat outside most of the weekend. Annie was quiet; worried about her friend.

Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 12:38:48

Hi there dear friends,

I am guilty, not because my program is so full, but because I am lazy.

I had a nice weekend. I went to a colleague on Friday. Yesterday they all went to an amusement park, and they wanted me to go with them. I declined, because I think being out like that all day would exhaust me too much. I would just have kept them back.

Today is a calm day too. I’m not doing much. I cooked dinner though — a mishmash that I will eat when it is edible. Tomorrow I am having dinner with another colleague.

This is a short e-mail, just to let you know I am okay.

Lots of love to you all.

To be continued… Admitted Again

Note: This series is a rework of a self-published book (2009), rewritten for this blog, and in loving memory of a dear friend who suffered from and passed because of AIDS. Keep in mind this story happens in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Names of characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Thirteen Years: Answers To Questions

  1. This was a rough time for many connected to the LGBTQ community.
    I lived in DC in the 80’s where it seemed 1 in 5 gay men were infected and dying. Didn’t hear about the women as much but they were there too.
    Thank you for rewriting and posting. AIDS is still very much around just a little better controlled and HIV is not the death sentence it once was. But it is still costly to treat. Thank you.

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