When I was hired for my first teaching job, I had no idea that the man who recruited me had AIDS. It was the early 1990s, and AIDS wasn’t mainstream. It was a secret.
He didn’t look sick. He didn’t act like he was dying.
He never told us.
He just disappeared from work one year.
We didn’t know what was wrong. We wondered why he was gone for so long.
And one day when he came back to visit, we figured it out.
And then he died.
Thank you, Steve, for taking a risk with me. I was young, eager, and enthusiastic. You gave me a chance.
I think you’d be proud of the teacher I’ve become.
I’ve never forgotten you, or your infectious laugh, or your love of the strange-but-contagiously-addictive middle school human.
Thank you. I wish you were here.