I’ve been stuck at home for the last few months; trying to stay safe from this pandemic. It reminds me of that fact that I was born in the year of another medical epidemic that claimed many lives while the goverment took little action, seems very familiar, sadly.
To keep busy, I’ve been watching a lot of movies that I’ve found onlne Most of the films I watch are older,I prefer them. I tracked down this older film from the late 80’s, it was the first mainstream film to address AIDS in America and the toll it took on a group of gay men from NYC who dealing with caring for their sick loved ones who were dying, it was very powerful and heartbreaking. And though I wwas just a kid during those times and am not part of that community, something about that film really resonated with me, the idea of friendship till the end, empathy. having compassion for your fellow human being in spite of so much darkness, both from the disease and that from a society unwilling to help them.
I don’t want to go into a film review but I was struck by the last scene and it very haunting. At the end of the film, the only 2 surviving men and their female friend are walking alone the beach wondering what life would be like once they find a cure for AIDS. The female character states “It will probably be like the end of World War II) And suddenly a group of men ( who had previously died) run down the pier onto the beach and embrace one another. The surviving men see their friends again who had died and hugged. One of the surviving men sees his best friend who was the first to die and exclaims “You fuckin son of a bitch” and gives him this hug with relief on his face. It brings a tear to your eye because you know that it’s a fantasy and all of these people are dead. And the scene cuts back to the three surviving members on the beach alone again and it shatters your heart.
As I watched this last scene. I found myself crying and not because I had never lost anyone to AIDS ( I have not) but I have lost several family members, including my brother and the idea of seeing them again would fill that void I’ve been feeling for 20 years, to hug them and tell them I love them. We can move forward but we can never truely move on, they’ll always be in our hearts. I just thought of all of those who had taken their lives running on that beach, so many people, so much hurt, so much pain and sadness. Someday we’ll meet again. I miss my brother and I know someday I can hug him one more time.