I’m 20. I’m bussing tables at that triangle on 14th and Hudson St. I break a glass in my hand and cut my index finger open. My boss pays another busser to take me to St. Vincent’s in a cab.
It’s my first time inside. They bring me to a bed on the ground floor. I ask the busser to go grab me a glass of water, just so I can be alone with the nurse and tell her, “I’m HIV+ and I’m not sure if I need to tell you that but I am.” She says, “Okay. I was gonna wear gloves either way, but thanks for letting me know.”
She sews my finger back together and I have no idea where I am really.
I’m 23. An older, wiser gay tells me they are tearing down St. Vincent’s.
I clearly don’t understand the gravity of what he’s saying, so he takes about an hour explaining why it’s actually a huge fucking deal - the demographics of lower Manhattan that made St. Vincent’s the deathbed of so many during the initial wave of AIDS deaths.
I tell him I was inside once and show him the scar on my finger.
“And did you feel them?” he asks me. “The ghosts?”
I’m 24. They stop taking patients, but they leave all the lights on at night. Knowing it’s empty, I start looking up to the windows of the highest floors every time I pass, sure that I will see a face.
Gone! #stvincents #vanishingnewyork #lgbt
“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”