I’ve long had mixed feelings about disco. Much of it’s great music that’s fun, upbeat, and uplifting, but I typically have a bittersweet feeling whenever I listen to disco, as it tends to evoke for me a generation of dead gay boys.
(Perhaps ironically, it was not the HIV that took so many of his generation but cancer that took my gay boy. Reginald was quite open about his HIV+ status from the time I met him, and so I always knew that down the road, serious health problems could be part of our relationship, especially since at the time I met him in late 1998, while protease inhibitors were a godsend for many with HIV, including Reginald, no one could say with certainty whether combination therapy would work well in the long term, as those drugs were still relatively new. As it turns out, Reginald never really had any problem with HIV. I do wonder if it contributed to some of the complications that ultimately allowed the cancer to take over after an initially good response to chemo – some of his doctors thought it probably did, others were less sure, though none of them thought it was a good idea to have HIV and cancer at the same time.)
Since Reginald died, my disco emotions have been amplified, and I’ve found it almost painful to listen to disco or most any other dance music. While it’s far from what I miss most with his loss, one thing I do miss is seeing him dance. As most who knew him well know, Reginald could dance like nobody’s business, and probably the most pleasurable thing about watching him dance was the look of sheer joy he had when dancing. Thinking about it as I write, I’m laughing with the joy of that memory and crying as I know I’ll never see him dance again.