Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Strange Cast of Characters

I just got finished reviewing an article I wrote for Cincinnati CityBeat about my cousin who died of AIDS. It made me cry for him all over again. I miss him. He introduced me to a bizarre cast of characters, most of whom are dead now also. I miss them too.

Lisa was a friend of Eli's who rented a room from my dad for a while, so I got to know her pretty well. She was a big burly man with stringy blond hair and a big beer belly. She went to job interviews with thick makeup, tight blue jeans and rock n' roll T-shirts with the sleeves and collar ripped off. She was perpetually unemployed.

She had one telemarketing job for a while before I met her. She was convinced everyone there thought she was a woman. She got fired for using the women's restroom. A woman in the stall next to her was out of toilet paper and flipped out when Lisa's big hairy man-paw reached under the divide to hand her some tissue.

I was drawn to Lisa and we talked a lot, partly because I had few friends as a teenager and partly because she was a train wreck and I couldn't help but slow down as I passed.

She told me she was not a gay man, but a lesbian trapped in a man's body. I found this particularly puzzling since she had sex only with men.

She had no facial hair because she had electrolysis to permanently remove it, but she had a large masculine cleft chin, so she just looked remarkably clean shaven. She took hormones that gave her breasts, but they didn't protrude past her gut, so they just looked like man-boobs.

We were up late talking one night. Talking about how smart the dog was (Venus really was a remarkable dog). She said she thought Venus was a reincarnated person, and I laughed at her. The more she tried to convince me, the more I laughed. It was mean, and I feel really bad about it now.

Lisa died of AIDS a few years later. I spoke to her on the phone when I was in town not long before she died. She was sad that she never made it out of Cincinnati. She had always dreamed of Going to San Francisco. I miss Lisa.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about Gina.


Anonymous said...

AIDS still kills.

Heather Annastasia said...

I know.

My cousin died of AIDS last year.