Thirteen Years: Home Renovations

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

Home Renovations

Continued from… Staying In Bed

During the weekend, Annie, Jacques and the kids visited a fairy tale park, the Efteling. Annie snapped a lot of photos and sent Isaac a selection, trying to make him feel part of their day out.

Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 20:25:22

Hi there all of you,

I didn’t forget about you and I’m not in the hospital. I’m at home and I take everything calmly. Maybe too calm. I still feel the pain. However, the morphine patches help. To an extent, that is.

I am still feeling tired too. I guess I will sleep well tonight, because I did too much today. Too much for me, not for someone else.

The cold doesn’t want to go away. Just when I think it has almost gone, my nose runs again. I doctor myself with tablets and everything I have in the house that could help with a cold. However, they say that a cold comes by itself and it will go by itself. It’s time for this one to go.

I don’t think slippers would be available this time of year, so can’t ask for that in the package. No need to add any liquorice for me, but I think Kathy and Jeanne will appreciate it.

I’m extra tired tonight because I took almost everything out of my sitting room today so the maid could clean up properly. I’m getting new tiling on the floor and wanted it to be clean before they start. Taking all the cables out of the stereo and television depleted my strength. I took a nice hot bath and I’m feeling a bit better now.

It was Billy’s birthday yesterday, and I took them out to a new restaurant. It is a very nice place. I had two glasses of wine. I was just in the mood for it. Luckily, it didn’t have any consequences.

I feel a cold wind on my back, so I will stop now. Lots of love to everyone there. Now that it’s winter, I constantly wear my slippers — something I never did before.

I miss you and wish I could be there. Not to do anything, just to be there.

Lots of love,

Annie fished for information again. Isaac’s remark about slippers made her want to buy him some. But she also wanted to take Kathy and Jeanne a pair, so she asked Isaac to send over their shoe sizes. Annie told Isaac the package was almost full, and she wanted to post it soon.

Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 09:04:16

Dear you,

It is a mess over here. The mess isn’t what’s bothering me, but I hate the dust. They were busy all day yesterday to hack away the old tiles in the hallway. They’re doing the last bit now and will then start on the new tiles. They said they would be done tomorrow.

I don’t know if I’m going to stay in this house. However, I don’t have plans to move out either. I just couldn’t handle the smell of cat pee on the carpets anymore.

I’m not depressed. I’m just not in the mood to do anything. I miss you a lot, but not even that could bring me to come and sit behind the computer. So don’t worry about my silences. You will be informed if I am admitted to the hospital.

My Dutch shoe size is a 43 (I checked the slippers I’m wearing). Jeanne prefers a five and a half and I don’t know what Kathy’s shoe size is. No one answers their phone. I guess her feet is not that much bigger than Jeanne’s is, but I will call there again this weekend. You must now stop sending me packages. It really makes me feel bad. Giving cannot only come from one side. So friends, please understand. I appreciate it, but it should stop.

Lots of love and loads of longing.

Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 18:20:21

Hi there,
Just a short note. Kathy’s shoe size is five-and-a-half too.

Annie told Isaac he should just leave her to send the packages, since it was the only thing they could do from such a distance to brighten his days..

Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 16:54:04

Hi there my dear friends,

I just watched a movie on television – Vincent and me. It takes place in Amsterdam and they occasionally spoke Dutch. It just made me long for you more.

I’m okay. The cold has started again. It might not have been gone at all. It just goes to show how weak my constitution is. I will go to the doctor during the week. I will call on Monday morning to make an appointment.

I wanted to write earlier this weekend, but Billy was full of shit again. I was so annoyed with him. I know it is difficult for him, but really, his wife and his child must mean something to him. I think I should clearly explain to him I have a lot more reason to be depressed than he has. I haven’t seen him again, so maybe he’s angry with me. I will not babysit him. I just cannot handle that kind of stress.

They are done with the tiling, and it looks wonderful. Tomorrow, one of the men will come back to paint some walls. The smell of pee is gone, and that’s a relief.

There’s not much other news. Give the kids a hug from me.

Lots and lots of love,

To be continued… Still At Home

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

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