Hi. My name is Gordon. Gordon Wilcox. And I am going to tell you about how I disappeared from the face of this Earth.
You see, I am a painter. A dying artist living in 1989 New York. That's right, dying. You see, 5 years before, I contracted HIV. My life has never been the same since. It eventually developed into AIDS and doctors kept saying that I would die soon . "This will probably be your last week." "This will probably be your last day." "This will probably be your last month." Interestingly, the day never came. For 3 more years, I was baffled. Why was I kept alive? And to be kept alive yet in pain, the gods must be toying with me. By then, I was going to a life support group at the Ryder Community Center. Paul Daniel, the one who led the group, lectured many times on hope and living without worrying what the future may bring. Despite my conflicting beliefs and wishes to argue, I relented.
December 24, 1989 for another checkup after intense pain in the head and constant vomitting. There, I find that my T-Cells are low. It dropped to 43, and I couldn't help but feel fear. Then, on Christmas day, in life support, I couldn't help but express my anguish. Why am I still here? What's the point in life? Then Paul looks at me and asks,
"You say you felt scared. But what are you feeling today? Right now?"
He got me. "Okay. Alright. Pretty good."
"Then why choose fear?"
At that moment, I was baffled. Was I simply choosing to live in fear as to hide from what could be a horrid future? I shrugged it off. "I'm a New Yorker. Fear is my life." We shared a laugh.
After seconds of silence, I gave in. "Look, Paul. I found it hard to trust what you teach because I'm used to relying on intellect, but I try to open up to what I'm not aware of. Because reason says I should've died 3 years ago."
"You don't have to worry about life, Gordon. Life will worry about itself. There's only this. Only us. Only now. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other way."
And then I knew. I knew that if I wanted to have my questions answered, I should stop worrying. Instead, I should work and search for that thing that could make my life not feel empty. "No day but today." Though I did not know it, so began my quest.
Interestingly enough, I didn't have to search very hard. The next day, I looked all over the city, both from friends and strangers, for a solution to my problem – to see, whether or not, people are put in this earth for a purpose. If I do have a purpose, then I have hope for my future. Near the end of the day, I started giving up, when I spoke to Paul. Apparently, I didn't have to search so far. He spoke to me of a man that could solve my problem. Well, most say he is man, but others say he's a god. He might as well be. People say his strength has no limits. Others say he can cure any disease. Yet, some also say that he can look into your soul, see your sins, your past, and future. That's exactly what I needed.
As much as everyone is talking about him, he has not been seen very often. I did get a tip that he stops by the local chapel and will sit next to you if you sit in the complete right of the back row. So, I thought to myself, "what have I got to lose." I visited the chapel and sat at the complete right of the back pew. Sure enough, a hooded man with black jeans approaches the pew and sits right next to me. Strange. I felt like his man would give me what I wat, but then I knew that it was false.
"You've come to ask for forgiveness?"
I cracked a smile. "Are you who everyone is talking about."
"Maybe. Maybe not. You can't simply rely on what others say."
"So... you're not?"
"Depends on what you're looking for."
"I'm looking for a guy who can help me solve my problem."
"Really? Is that all?"
"Well, it's a little more complicated than that..."
"I'm sorry kid, I can't solve people's problems for them."
"But you can cure diseases! And, you saved a man by stopping a speeding car!"
"All true, but I can't do anything for what's insi..."
"Just tell me if it's true."
"Are you looking to be cured? Of AIDS perhaps?"
Startled, I snapped back, "How did you know?"
He gave a smile, that almost looked like a smirk, and replied, "That's what people come to me for."
"Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not looking to be cured. I just want to know if I have a purpose on this Earth."
"Look, some say you can see the past and future of someone."
"So tell, is there something in my future I will eventually do that would matter to me? Or to people around me? a purpose?"
"Well, it's not that simple..."
"So you can't tell me?"
"You didn't even let me finish."
"Fine, but before you do, tell me, how long have I had AIDS?"
"I thought you wanted to know..."
"Just answer me."
After a pause, he finally closed his eyes. After some time, he opened them and answered, "2".
Then it sinked in. "It's all a ruse."
In a fit of anger, I punched him straight in the face, and quickly ran out of that chapel. I know I shouldn't have done that, but a dying man shouldn't have to live with false hope. I guess I put my hopes on something too good to be true. I mean, a guy with unlimited strength and healing abilities? Come on! I guess Paul did get to me. Maybe he did. And maybe... I don't want to lose hope just yet.