I Will This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   I Will by Nicole F., Boothwyn, PA



"I have AIDS," he whispered. I'd been expecting that news for several months, but I still wasn't prepared to digest the phrase. My mind screamed in denial, my pulse raced in fear and salty tears formed in my eyes. In the shadows I sensed death - looming in the darkness, hidden in the night.

And time passed by. I watched him slowly slipping away, desperately holding onto life by his fingertips.

"Don't worry," he croaked through his chapped lips. "I will survive." I smiled and nodded as we both let the silence speak about the inevitable. He had survived so much already and it killed me to watch him lose this final battle. But he wasn't losing! As far as I was concerned, he had already won.

"No, you won't," I answered, choking back tears. "But it doesn't matter now, does it?" My words pained him, and I turned away. Then, I felt the warmth of his hand on my own.

"It does matter and I will survive! Can't you see? I'll live on in your heart ..." he trailed off, consumed by emotion.

"Yeah, you will," I said breathlessly.

"You see," he quipped, "Victory is mine." And it was.

A few days before his death, we shed our last tears. We knew the end was near, and neither of us was prepared to let go. As I left for the night he called out in that scratchy voice of a dead man, "Keep me close."

"Don't worry, Angelo. I will." And I have. The three words he had spoken changed my life forever. He had AIDS, and yet, he survived.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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