“I’m 28 years old. I’m HIV positive. And no one is going to remember me when I die.” This isn’t the ending of a dramatic Lifetime movie or the newest Meg Ryan flick, it’s part of a conversation I had Friday night. This conversation affected me profoundly. And throughout the course of the night, my views and opinions on life dramatically changed.
It all began when my friends and I decided to go out. The important detail about the evening is a man named Blue. His eyes captivated me. After talking for about an hour, we danced. I was amazed at his genuine beauty.
We went back to the bar and the experience began. Blue’s eyes filled up as he spoke. Blue is a 28-year-old gay man. His lover found out that he gave him HIV and consequently shot himself, leaving Blue terminally ill and alone.
“Anything goes.” This is the motto Blue lives by, and the words are written on the only ring on his hand. He uses it to remind himself to live life to the fullest. Since being diagnosed, Blue realized that mortality is closer than we think. Blue then slipped the ring on my finger, and told me to live by these words. He also told me that no one will remember him when he’s gone, and asked me to just think of him every time I look at the ring. That way, he said, he’ll know that someone in the world will remember him. He said he chose me for this because I have “beauty and self-confidence” in my eyes.
“Never compromise your opinions for anyone.” This is the next piece of advice Blue gave me, and I assured him that I will always remember his words, wherever I go.
The night ended, and I reluctantly left Blue with a hug and a smile that I hope he carries with him until his last breath. I’ve never had an experience as intense and reflective as I did with this stranger, which fuels my new belief that everyone is worth talking to, even if just for a few moments.
I will always remember Blue, when I look at the ring or when a new opportunity arises. “Anything goes” will resonate through my brain and convince me to live my life like each day is my last. Because you never know, someday it will be.
Dara Solomon is a freshman majoring in print journalism.