|Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times|
Steve Schalchlin would be the first to tell you he lives in a time of miracles, and about how hard that can be. In 1995, as his body wasted away from AIDS, he took the limited time in front of him as a challenge: he would write songs, make amends, fill his remaining days with life. And by the end, with his digestive system shut down, his figure skeletal, he was ready to die. Then he won a lottery for a new AIDS drug that had been rushed through the approval process. Almost overnight his health began to return, and with it, another, more open-ended, challenge: life.A friend of mine complained that article didn't reflect how positive I am in real life, but I think he kind of did. The focus of the article was on the challenges of living with all the meds and side effects -- and also how so many don't have the kind of support system I've had; mainly Jim and Steinbeck, plus all my friends who love me and whom I love. We take care of each other. They are the ones who fill me with life.
That's why we need community. We all need community. You don't need AIDS to die of loneliness.
|Steve Schalchlin with members of the Christ Church Bay Ridge Choir.|
Photo by Stephen Anthony Elkins.