The death rate for AIDS patients in North America was still rising rapidly in the early 90s; it did not begin to drop dramatically until after the wide-spread use of combination drug therapies from 1995 on. Before this could happen, two of my dearest friends succumbed, to an appalling disintegration that looked, from a corrupted moral view, like punishment. But for what? The lightness, the brightness of each human experience became overwritten by a disinterested and authoritarian viral calligraphy. To attend seemed so deeply, so pathetically inadequate, as the exceptional writhed against being brought low, as if the drowning were in the throes of reinventing how to swim.