Vancouver, BC
Sunset Beach west, near foot of Broughton Street Vancouver AIDS Memorial since 1 December 2004
996 names
Thoughts on World AIDS Day 2011
I don’t often “go” to the AIDS Memorial down by what is commonly known in the gaybourhood as “The Fruit Loop.” It’s a beautiful spot and I know it’s there since it’s within a very short city block from us and I skate by it all the time on the Seawall, but make it a destination? Not so much.
Prompted by this being World AIDS Day, I decided to deliver some flowers as a pilgrimage. It was cold, dry, and slightly overcast as I walked down the hill from Davie St, carnations in hand, and I found myself thinking of the friends that I’ve lost over the years to this terrible disease.
I was happy to see others had left flowers already, and even happier to find the names of two friends on the monument. (At times I can’t find them at all and I swear they decide to switch places in the middle of the night as some kind of Puckish joke upon the living.)
As I tucked flowers into their names I chose to remember a happy time each of us had shared.
Lloyd: Thanks for driving overnight from Calgary to be at my very first voice recital.
David: Thanks for your belief that choral music was an important way for the gay community to tell our stories.
And then for those not on the monument but written on my heart:
Carter: Thanks for taking my hand as I walked down Castro St for the very first time, and then reassuring me that it was perfectly safe to do so.
Roy: Thanks for showing me that a body can be a work of art.
Dwayne: Thanks for the epic walks that often included the entire Seawall and an excursion over a bridge or two, talking the entire time.
Mark: Thanks for endless phone calls, laughter amdist many beers at the Castle and Royal, and being my best friend for over a decade.
Then I went home and wrote an email to an old friend I haven’t seen in awhile and told him how much he meant to me. Who are you thankful for – and if they’re still with us – have you told them lately?
Photos © Bruce Hoffman Brucecat Communications WordPress&Atahualpa

1 December 2011
Bruce Hoffman, Vancouver