Happy Birthday, Bobby. Today is your birthday and I’m thinking about you. I think about you alot.
I was in a clothes store a few years ago and the woman behind the counter looked at me and shivered. It was so odd that I asked her what was wrong. She said that there was someone behind me, dressed as an old woman, but that they were just in a costume, like a prankster. She said that the person was really a man dressed as a woman. Then she said it was my brother, and I knew it was you. Then it was my turn to shiver. She said that you were always around me; watching out for me. She said that you are my guardian angel. I felt your presence and was happy. Thank you for watching over me. I know that you are always with me. I feel you at different times. Thoughts of you fill my head and I know you are somewhere near me. I feel you now-the essence of you. I love and miss you.
I thought that when Daddy died nothing else that was bad would happen to our family. I was wrong.
You would have been forty-four. The other day I watched some old home movies starring you as a baby. It made me sad to see you as a baby, knowing what was in store for you, and for us, not so many years into the future. But of course we didn’t know that then. We were innocent children. You were literally, a babe in arms.
You died at the age of twenty-six, of AIDS, in 1988. How many thousands died before you? How many millions are infected? How many more have died since? Rhetorical questions. I know the answer. AIDS made me it’s student.
Robert Louis Smalley, Happy Birthday 🙂