No More Tomorrows : Two Lives, Two Stories, One Love

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-06-30
  • Publisher: Strebor Books
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No More Tomorrows is a touching love story of two men (one HIV Positive, one HIV Negative) and the impact of living and loving in the age of AIDS.



Iawoke from the same bad dream that had haunted me for the last few weeks. The T-shirt stuck to my body from the drenching sweat during the tossing and turning in this horrible nightmare. I lay for a moment so not to disturb him. He slept peacefully as I fought the demons in the dream. I opened my eyes and replayed the scene as I stared at the ceiling.

It started out simple. I saw the image of me as a little boy, playing jump rope. The game of choice, "A Little Higher," allowed me to tell my little girlfriends to raise the height of the rope to showcase my ability to leap higher than the others playing the game. I laughed as I made my way to the front of the line. It was my turn to increase my chances of winning the game. Then I heard it: "You ain't nothing but a sissy."

Fast forward to high school. After fighting with my father numerous times for the designer jeans my fellow classmates adorned, I was relegated to the neatly pressed dress slacks and oxford shirts he selected for me. His son would follow in his footsteps of best dressed. My feet longed for the days of the past summer vacation, where I had walked the streets barefoot. But now I was confined by argyle socks and dock siders. I maneuvered my way through the halls, greeting classmates and teachers. My smile had gained me recognition among my peers. Between classes, I stopped at my assigned locker to retrieve my books for the next set of classes. My hand missed the slamming of the door from the jocks as they parted the hallways with their broad shoulders and letterman jackets, leaving behind their stinging phrase: "Punk."

The next stop on this lurid journey, I saw myself exiting the Red Line's 1 train in New York's the Village. History had shown me this was the one place where I could be myself without judgment and fear. I ascended the stairs, searching the faces of beautiful men passing me. I smiled, acknowledging the looks I received, hoping in return that the Southern charm I was accustomed to would be returned. I only received, "You fucking faggot." Each time, like clockwork, I would awake at the same step, facing the same menacing look that shattered the disturbing night of attempted slumber.

I had to change my T-shirt since there was a chill in the air. I managed to pull myself up and swing my legs to the side of the bed. As my hands rested and I braced myself to stand up, I felt the dampness of the sheets from my side of the bed. Damn, not again. I didn't want to wake him yet again to change the sheets. This time I would allow him to sleep. I found my footing from the aching neuropathy, reaching for the cane that had become my constant companion as of late. It felt like I was walking on a bed of nails as I hobbled to the bathroom closet. I needed to retrieve an extra sheet to cover the damp spot where I would return shortly. I made my way into the bathroom, searching for the light switch with my available hand. As the fluorescent light brightened the small cramped bathroom, I caught a glimpse of me. I stared at the man in front of me. I didn't recognize him. I had known him all of my life and now he was a complete stranger. His face was gaunt and pale. His cheeks were sunken, never providing any indication of the roundness they once possessed. The sparkle in his eyes was now replaced with deep, dark circles. The smile that captured the hearts of many now reflected the parched, dry, cracked lips, which ached with the simplest touch. Who was he? I searched his face, searching for the answers. I realized, much like the dream, that man was me.

I couldn't cry anymore about my circumstances; they were what they were. I looked deeper into the vacant eyes staring back at me, searching for a brief glimpse of the man once called "pretty." The man who had charmed those with his welldisguised insecurities. I searched the lines that ran the length of his face, as each one told a story of love found and lost. Along those lines, were moments of laughter, moments of tears. Those were the days.

I decided to ditch the idea of a new T-shirt and removed the terrycloth robe hanging on the back of the door. If I continued down this horrible memory lane, I would find somewhere a reserve pool of tears, but I didn't want to tap into them. I ran the tap long enough to cup a handful of warmth to bring to my face. Ahh, it felt good. I patted my face dry and made my way back to our room.

The sun peeked through the shades, interrupting any thoughts of returning to bed. I eased my way into the recliner he had placed next to the window for moments like this. There were times I found it difficult to sit for long periods in the living room and make the walk down the long corridor to our bedroom. He wanted me to be comfortable. I rested my head on the back of the recliner and watched him.

His back was toward me. The sunlight showcased his beautiful brown skin. The outline of his back stood out prominently. My eyes traced the nape of his neck, down to the top of his boxer briefs, accenting the curves of his ass. I was lucky to have found him. He was clueless of my absence as he continued to sleep. I simply watched him; taking in every mark of his body, the few strands of hair on his back, the neatly shaved bald head. This was my mental photograph to treasure, for I realized it would be one of the last images I would have of him.

© 2009 by Rodney Lofton

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