Originally Published in My Dark Roasted Valentine (Feb. 2009)
EXCERPT from With Love, Casanova
Together they’d purchased their first home, a beautiful lakeside house in the historic village of Sleepy Hollow, forty-five minutes outside Manhattan. Joss had a successful career with the New York Philharmonic, and then went on to develop a second career as a composer. Nicholas became a choreographer and dance teacher at Juilliard. They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect life. Shortly after they’d moved to Sleepy Hollow though, everything had begun to disintegrate.
In 1998, Nicholas’ doctor diagnosed him with HIV. Four years later, it had evolved into full-blown AIDS. Nicholas fought the good fight, but after four long years, his body had given up the battle. Even now, Joss remembered those last few hours with a clarity he despised. After the sickness had spread they had spent hours watching movies and what Nicholas did that day didn’t surprise Joss. Wasted away, unable to breathe without assistance, a shell of his former self, Nicholas had taken his hands, looked in his eyes, and apologized in his own unique way. Nicholas had told Joss that on the other side, he would wait for him, and when the time came, he’d send him a message.
“How will I know?”
“I’ll sign it—with love, Casanova.”
Those words rang in Joss’ ears now, one of Nicholas’ favorite quotes from the numerous movies they’d watched in the end. He wandered the rooms of this place that had been their home, where they had intended to grow old together, though the fates had other plans.
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