Those Who Remain

In the years to come, more faces will fade away. Trevor, the aspiring actor and dancer who started bartending at Studio 54, will have his life’s thread cut off just as he begins to become known. Kimberly will leave her dearest friends, Katherine and Santiago, to take solace in each others’ arms, and her one real love, Charlotte, with only regrets for the pain they’d caused each other.

Abner’s students will finish what he does not. A note bearing the inscription “You do not leave flowers for poets immortal. Words in granite do better justice” will be lowered with him into his grave. His words will long outlive him, though “We live, we die, we remain” will become the rallying cry of a generation that does not know Jerrod penned it in Abner’s name.

The Congressman and The Queen will publicly declare their love, only to find their world cracked open as Nate succumbs to disease, and Sinclair begs death to take claim him now too, instead of waiting for his own diagnosis to take its terrible toll.

More names: Nick, Steven, Max, Eli. Howard will take his own life rather than give death his due. Too many names. Too many lives. Too many, too many, too many.

Rain will go on. He will keep his promise to Leon and come out publicly after Urban Renaissance gets their big break. Their first number one single, “Dancer in the Dark,” will be widely recognized as a tribute to all those who have died in the epidemic, and by a select few as influenced by the old disco hit “I Was Made for Dancin’.”

Sorrento will blaze bright for as long as his star remains in the sky. He will work tirelessly as a city councilman to change laws that bar the life partners of the dying from being at their sides, laws that allow hospitals to deny help to those in need, laws that give employers free reign to terminate employees with a diagnosis. When he passes from the world, he will be remembered as a hero for the damned.

Diego will devote what remains of his life to giving and teaching palliative care to others, in hopes that he will receive it when his time comes. His clock is ticking.

Enrique, with the help of the wealthy and influential pillars of the gay community, will open the Simon Center, a clinic for all in need. They will do everything they can, strain every resource, and demand the world from their volunteers, who will give bottomlessly. It will still never be enough.

And he and Rain will realize, in time, the love that has grown between them as they have stared down death together over the years. They will hold each other, finding and taking the moments they can in the eye of the endless hurricane.

Somewhere, Leon and Simon will smile on them both.

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