"When We Go Back" for Real
This Is True Love is a labor of love, a book that collects stories and essays I've written and published over 30 years or so. The second story in the collection is titled "When We Go Back," and I wrote it in 1992 or maybe 3, in grad school. I wanted to come up with just a plain, good story about a working class guy dying of AIDS and his family falling apart about it. In my head it was like a gorgeous low-rent episode of thirtysomething, serious and dramatic and a little cheesy, but the cheesiness, I discovered when I reread the story after stumbling across it in a plastic tub in the basement, wasn't cheesy at all. Just sincerity and kindness and simplicity. So I fell in love with it in the now. It has beautiful blank lower-middle-class spaces, has a twisty little take on points of view, and in the end it does its job pretty well: it gives you access to an abundance of feelings that the characters themselves can't communicate outside of themselves.
Read it and weep.
(Pictured is a painting Bill painted, inspired by the story, way back in the day.)