I know him since I was a child,
I can remember it now -
The two of us playing in the dirt
Of the parks of Springfield.
Only three yours older than I,
He was like my own big brother
So I always looked up to him,
For he was so innocent, I thought.
Our friendship grew more and more
And once I became a teenager, his words
Became filled with warnings and advice.
I listened carefully to what he told me -
He warned me of the pressures I'd face
During my teenage years and on,
And how I was never to give in to them.
And I never doubted for a moment,
His words of wisdom, so full of concern.
Neither did I doubt his own belief
In what he was telling me.
I remember, especially, something he said
About the scariest thing I'd learn about -
Diseases. Deadly diseases of all kinds.
He told me I was to avoid them totally ...
Today I got a letter from my friend,
He wrote me from his hospital bed in Carleton -
He tells me he's very, very sick
With the AIDS epidemic.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.