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 [Two Hearts Desire cover]

Remembering Walta

By Michael Bronski

From Two Hearts Desire

[Here is the full list Bronski sent us about Walta, which, for the book, we had to edit down tremendously for space. -- Eds.]

On February 10, 1994, the morning after Walta died, I sat at the computer to write down things I remembered. I was afraid I would forget. I was afraid of losing more than I already had. I didn't know what else to do.

1) Eating in Zum-Zum before he went to work at Little, Brown.

2) Eating at Cardullos after he came out of work.

3) Going shopping in Harvard Square in the afternoons.

4) Going to the Brattle for the 4:00 show.

5) Making bacon, eggs, and toast before he went to work in the morning.

6) Going on errands to CVS, Barsamian's, and the video store and being annoyed when he spent too long looking.

7) Going to the Health Service and holding his arm the first times he had trouble walking.

8) Going to the Joslin Clinic and sitting in the waiting rooms.

9) Having to sit in the arcade at Holyoke Center when he was too dizzy after group and then going to the Hong Kong for lunch.

10) Listening to him getting impatient with his mother on the phone.

11) Going to Olson's and buying cards.

12) His pleasure in looking at jewelry at the shop beneath the Brattle.

13) Going to the craft fairs at One Church Street and his being so happy looking at everything.

14) When he was getting sick his pleasure at buying a silver cross and pewter perfume- pendant at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church fair.

15) His anger when I gave him the VCR for our tenth anniversary and he had only bought me a record.

16) His talking to Marilyn over the back porch.

17) His talking to Cosmo at Cramaldi's on the way home from the Square.

18) Going to see Little Women at the Harvard Square Theater when he had conjunctivitis; our third "date."

19) How he was so happy with the Barbra on Broadway album that he had to go out for a walk after only one side he was so excited.

20) How easily he cried at movies.

21) How he cried in the beginning of Sunday in the Park With George.

22) My being in the bathtub and his rushing out to the Brattle in hopes of seeing Jay at a late-night screening of La Dolce Vitaat the Brattle.

23) How when I asked him at dinner what he was thinking about, his saying that he was thinking of how hard it was to have AIDS.

24) His "waking up" after the spinal tap cleared the fluid from his brain and wanting Chinese food.

25) His shutting down in Dr. Silvestri's office when PCP was mentioned.

26) His being angry at me when I came home tired on the Saturday morning after seeing Vince.

27) His eagerness to please Jim.

28) His leaving Peter Tenney the rose I gave to him and not understanding why I was angry.

29) Driving in his VW to NYC with Terry and going to Amsterdam Ave laughing.

30) How excited he was to see Leer With Ethyl Eichelberger.

31) Going to look at the Christmas windows at Jordan Marsh after seeing Jim in the hospital on Christmas morning.

32) How hurt he was after reading by postcard to Jim Davis.

33) How angry he was when I was on the phone with Jim Davis and he went to catch the bus to go back to Hemenway Street.

34) How angry he was when I feel asleep upstairs on his bed and he slept down here.

35) How hard it was when we were not getting along and went to go see Lumiere and I fell asleep at the Central Square Cinema.

36) The pleasure he got shopping with Richard Lang and buying the silk jackets.

37) How excited he was to get the Waterman fountain pen from Andrea.

38) How he used to write what had happened during the day in his notebooks on the back porch; a simple telephone call from Allison or a change in plans to go to the doctors.

39) His letter to Jay that is hardly legible because he no longer had, what the doctors called "motor control."

40) His writing the poem to me when Chris was here, when he could barely hold the pen, and how happy he was when Chris wrote the poem down and I could read it.

41) How upset he was when he could not find his gold ring I gave him for our anniversary and how happy and grateful he was when I did find it.

41) How excited he was when Sherman made a videotape of our Christmas dinner and presents.

42) How he was so pleased at my first piece in Z.

43) How he looked when we went to visit Ching-Ling.

44) Sitting in the car when I went to buy the herb.

45) Asking to buy fried shrimp in the store across from the herbalist.

46) How he looked on stage at the PWA Coalition reading after OutWrite '92 when he said "so sore, so sore."

47) Sitting on the steps of the YWCA after the reading when he had trouble walking and talking to Assotto Saint.

48) Sitting with John Preston having a cigarette when he should have been at his reading at OutWrite.

49) Sitting at the dinning room table at Hemenway Street with Terry and Stephen and Ben dinner on a late summer night after we had first met.

50) Asking me on the phone if we had spoken about Jean Rhys yet the first time we talked after tricking at the baths.

51) Having dinner with me and Allison at La Piniata after Yoga class.

52) How happy he was when his letters appeared in the Times and the Globe.

53) When he threw-up in Dr. Navia's waiting room and when Chris was with us at MGH.

54) How he tried to get energy to enjoy the dahlias his last summer.

55) Waiting on line, so unsteady but excited to see Nina Simone.

56) His standing up, very shaky, to applaud during the concert.

57) His sitting in Sue and Jade's car on the way home.

58) How he spent time dressing for the concert: silk shirt, jewelry, black jeans.

59) How we would wave to one another at the train station we one of us went on a trip.

60) The time he had to sit down by the frozen foods in Stop and Shop when he felt faint in April of 1992.

61) How crazy he was in Stillman Infirmary the time he became hyper and thought he was on acid and wouldn't sit down even though they threatened to restrain him.

62) How exhilarated he was on our bike rides around the Charles River.

63) How beautiful he looked when he insisted on walking into Joslin clinic himself, proud not to have to use the cane.

64) How intently he sat on the back porch and wrote poems and how pleased he was when he found the right word, the right breath.

Copyright © 1997, Michael Bronski.

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