Sunday, December 28, 2008

Secrets, Lies, Truth, Laughter and Love

My Best Friend.
Jack and Karen: Our alter-egos

Patrick gave me away...

at my wedding and
...was my Man of Honor, and

held the bouquet more than I did.

I've been harboring a secret. I was told something earth-shattering about my best friend Patrick, by his partner (whom I've never really gotten along with, but we'll deal with that another time). The call came out of the blue from Saul (that's not Patrick's partner's name, but it's an inside joke, so that's what I'll call him). Saul Rosenthal blurts out to me that Patrick has full-blown AIDS. We hung up. I threw up.

I was told by Saul not to tell Patrick that I know he's sick. Keep in mind, guys, Patrick and I talk on the phone 6-7 times PER DAY. Not kidding at all. That often. We've been BEST friends since 1997. We both worked at Nordstrom in the Men's Department. We went to Taco Bell for lunch one day; I bought the "Ray of Light" cd by Madonna that same day and we were off and running for the time of our lives for years to come. And I'm supposed to keep this announcement to myself? Oh. OKAAAAY. This was on December 5th. I really do think there should be a special Oscar category for the performance I played so beautifully for almost 4 weeks. "Best Performance of a Cover-Up by a Best Friend", I think would suffice.

For the first few days, it was absolutely excruciating pretending to Patrick that I didn't know, but pretty soon, I was just fine at playing the part. Maybe if I keep prentending it will all just go away? Yeah, because that's how life works, Scarlett. "Think about it tomorrow" and see how far THAT gets you. Of course, I told my family, who all consider Patrick to be part of us...our family, so I had an outlet with them, especially Stephen.

Our telephone conversations were as silly and ridiculous as ever--sometimes even more-so. One day in particular, Patrick and I were both crying we laughed so hard. I started choking in the sink. There is no one else on this earth who does that to or with me...just Patrick.

Patrick slowly began to realize through conversations with Saul that I knew. He called. He questioned me. I questioned him back. We danced around the subject until I said, "You need to say it to me!". He told me the truth. He knew that I knew it was a relief for him to talk to me and not have to talk about his health. That's why I never said anything. I knew it was a reprieve from his illness. That, and I knew we were both afraid that EVERYTHING WOULD CHANGE. It didn't. It won't.

Someday I'll write a book about us. Right now, I just need to be able to write what comes to me.


Jilly said...

Bless you sweetie; I know this is so hard for you. I wish I had words of wisdom...and I don't. I don't know how I would feel in yours or Patrick's situation, or if I could be as strong and graceful as you are.
I must add: your wedding pix are beautiful. You are gorgeous; hugs!!

Annette said...

Jilly you're so right. All i can even think is that life is just SO SO unfair. But at the same time where there's life there's still hope....and every moment is a precious one.

KLo said...

What a heartwarming, heart-wrenching story : ( My thoughts are with you and Patrick!