Aaron Shurin. Unbound: A Book of AIDS. References at one point Proust and a passage where one character muses upon the melancholy overtones of saying “you look as young as ever”. And this sensitivity is evident in Shurin’s own glosses:
I’d heard about S but I hadn’t seen him yet. When I did see him I asked him, “How are you feeling?” He looked at me — about to disclose his diagnosis — tilted his head quizzically — then realized because I’d asked not How are you but How are you feeling, that I already new.
And in the final pages of the book we encounter another situation where words also convey the unsaid:
“It’s good to see you,” he said pointedly, far more direct than either of us expected, “I mean there’s so few of us left. It’s good to see you still around,” by which he meant “alive.”
And this caring parlance takes wing and at this late remove can be figured with the trope that closes the book with “a series of substitutions which stand for flight” and the beautifully ambiguous phrase that “The wind takes them all.” But it is worth pausing before the list:
The famous San Francisco sun has turned to famous rain. A reminiscent wind has whipped up, strewing the gleaming street with papers and leaves, anything that rises. I imagine a series of substitutions which stand for flight: black crow, broomstick, milkweed, vapor trail, pterodactyl, red balloon, oak pollen, helicopter, luna moth, dust mote, box kite, June bug, rocket man, gazelle. The wind takes them all.
But not all at once.
And so for day 818