A man I had sex with many years ago died on Saturday. I didn’t know he was ill. We had sex only once, but we spent a few hours together and I think we liked each other. Our sex was intense, but more than that, the time we were together was intimate. We were two artists together, and there is something beautiful about being with another person who understands what it’s like to try and live creatively and live off your creativity and try to make a living by being a creative person. And he was tall and slim and tactile. We bumped into each other only once after that, in a cafe near where he worked, and that meeting was awkward. I hadn’t wanted to meet again after our first encounter in the sauna, and I think he may have been hurt by that. I remember asking him for his surname in the sauna so that I could google him, and him saying he’d prefer me to get to know him rather than read about him online. But he gave me his surname anyway, and I did google him when I got home.
In the strange world of queer artists, in the small world of queer artists, lives overlap, our circles overlap, and a friend of mine recently told me about a friend of hers (who I know) who was spending time with a friend who was dying. I have spent time with that friend of my friend, and I know she knows this man who I once had sex with and who died on Saturday. Last year, I was supposed to go to an event that she was involved in, an event that this man was involved in, too.
When somebody dies… I’m not sure what I want to say, but when an artist dies the world become smaller, more precious and fragile and ready to fall apart. Love – the pain and beauty of it – rises to the surface when someone good dies. And from my short time with him, I know he was a good man, and I know he was loved and did good work. Maybe I regret not meeting him again, and now that he has gone, that option is closed to me. But I don’t think my sadness is about regret. My sadness is for him, and for the world that no longer has him in it. That there are people who could have met him and worked with him and loved him and had sex with him who never will.
I hate it when people disappear.
Beauty is so gentle and delicate. You know when you encounter it because your body fills with that profound and simultaneous mixture of joy and loss. At least that’s what happens to me. I know the world was a better place with him in it, and it is now poorer for his absence.