Friday, November 8, 2013

Silent Echo--A Mystery Surrounded by Main Character Living With AIDS+ Amazingly Revelatory!

content.time.com
"I’m also thinking about last night. I don’t want to, but I do. Numi had broken the “bathroom rule” when he’d insisted that I take a bath with baking soda and Epsom salts— a combination he’d insisted would draw toxins out of my degenerating shell of a body and allow my skin to absorb the important minerals. I did not argue with Numi. I knew better. Anyway, he’d done his best to give me privacy— even holding up a towel so that I could undress with what dignity I had left. Turns out it wasn’t much. I nearly fell over and Numi caught my naked body before I hit the towel rack next to me. The impact surely would have done some serious damage. I didn’t thank him. I yelled at him for distracting me and ordered him out of the bathroom. He said nothing, merely nodding, and waited just on the other side of the door in case I should need him. I’m a dick sometimes. 
"The concoction worked, amazingly. After forty minutes of sitting in the stuff, the water turned a darkish, muddy gray. I felt like shit for chewing out Numi, and so, after I’d showered and had plenty of water to drink, I apologized to my friend. He said no problem, cowboy, and helped me into bed where he tucked me in. I was asleep before I could feel weird about being tucked in by another man. 
"I awake in the middle of the night to find Mary next to me. This doesn’t make sense. I went to bed alone. Surely, I am dreaming. But no… my reaching fingers are rewarded by something very real and warm. Numi must have let her in. My bedroom door is closed and I can hear Numi snoring lightly in the living room. 
"They are both here. Keeping vigil over me. I know this can’t be good. Yes, I am feeling weaker than ever. Yes, I should probably be in the hospital somewhere. Or a hospice. But Numi is my caregiver. And now, so is Mary. And I have made the decision to die at home. It’s my right. It’s anyone’s right.
~~~

Silent Echo
By J. R. Rains


No matter how many books I read, I am constantly amazed to pick up a book by somebody I've never read--and find he is a well-known author with many books out there being sold... But this book amazed me more for the content. I was privileged to work on three different books dealing with AIDS while working with Rainbow's End Publishing. All of them were wonderful, but this one blew me away with its intimacy, sensitivity, and revelation of living with AIDS. In this case, also compounded by cancer, which apparently was dormant and responded unfavorably to the virus...

This is definitely more than a mystery--or should I say this is less of a mystery than the story of a former "mucho" man who never thought he could contract AIDS. However, you can, and he did, contract it from having sex with a woman. I'm spotlighting statistics for the U.S., because I think many have "forgotten" about this dangerous virus in America, even though it remains a major issue across the continents...

Rains has done an outstanding job of bringing this reality to the forefront of America's eyes--to remind us. If you scoff at this threat while reading this book, you are, in my opinion a fool... One more issue I want to mention as foolish... when I searched for pictures, the only one that came up was the above...Please realize that there are many white people and people of other nationalities, other than African and African-Americans that contract this disease...Yet the reality in America is only presented graphically... Note that the graph states that many are unaware of their infection...!

But I'm just spotlighting what Rains has shared, dare I say, so eloquently, so compassionately. The main character was a private investigator, specializing in missing people before he became too ill to work...

"Numi sees this. Numi sees everything. He’s always watching me, studying me, monitoring me. In Numi’s eyes, Eddie is wasting my time and energy, neither of which I have in spades. Although Numi has okayed this meeting for reasons I still do not comprehend, Numi doesn’t like the way things are progressing. I know this, because I know Numi, too. As well as he knows me.
 “What do you need, Eddie?” asks Numi. Eddie looks at him, blinks, and realizes for the first time that when you talk to me, you also talk to Numi. Eddie looks back at me, and seems to size me up again. I can’t imagine what he’s thinking, but it can’t be good.
“Maybe this is a bad idea,” he says. 
“The man is on borrowed time,” says Numi, leaning forward. “Maybe we can waste a little more of it?” 
"Eddie is a smart guy and gets Numi’s drift: Get to the point or get the hell out of here. “Right, sorry. Shit. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t need your help, Jimmy. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I mean, I should have been here anyway. I’m a shitty friend.” He is a shitty friend, but I don’t kick a man when he’s down. I look over at Numi, a very un-shitty friend. Numi is sitting back again, eyes half-closed, looking somewhere beyond the table and into eternity, for all I know. 
“It’s okay,” I say. My friend is acting strange. My friend is generally the picture of cool. Or, at least, that’s what he always projected in the past. Now, not so much. His eyes seem unhinged, moving around in his skull like a compass going apeshit. He’s having trouble focusing on any one thing. He runs his fingers through his greasy hair. I’ve never known Eddie to have greasy hair. The Eddie I remember cared a lot about his looks. Too much, perhaps. His knee is bouncing, too. I figure Eddie is either on something or something’s really wrong. He finally nods to himself, looks down. Then he closes his eyes, which is probably a good idea since he can’t seem to focus on anything longer than a nanosecond. 
"He takes in some air, holds it, and then says, “Olivia’s missing.”
~~~

John Lessor, Artist
Generations
Numilekunoluwa (which means, God Please Deprive My Sorrows), or Numi, is a main character, Nigerian, who is also an artist having his own gallery.  He  was such an intriguing character for me that I've chosen John Lessor, Nigerian Artist, to represent Numi... I can only describe Numi as one of the most loving men ever created by a writer and I truly hope that somewhere there is a Numi that truly would do what this character did--which was to give up his own life, work and act as a caretaker for such a white honky... LOL...

I wouldn't have said that if the two men did not joke with each other about phobias about AIDS, homophobia, race, etc. Numi is a gay man. He may or may not be "In love" with Jim. He knows he's straight--so straight that he can't quite accept that here is a man who is generously helping him, a gay man who is touching him...

But anybody in the position of having AIDS and having been deserted by...almost everybody...soon realizes that help from a gay, even intimately, is necessary and needed... These times between the two men are heartbreaking, at least they were for me, as even now, I cry as Numi withstood the anger and abuse that Jim threw back at him for his help...

Jim and his mother have been estranged for over 10 years. They both blamed Jim for the death of his younger brother, murdered in the park one day...

Now, as Jim begins to investigate the disappearance of Olivia, who was also a good friend, who he'd always hoped to have been more, he cannot help but to remember his brother's murder. And, then, when they find Olivia's body, and she has several telling clues that seem to be similar to his brother's earlier murder, Jim becomes obsessed, thinking he could possibly find out who murdered his brother before he dies...

Jim had been given six months to live by his specialists; that had been eight months ago... Dead man walking--but only with Numi's help!

And then there's Mary... She is Jim's grief counselor until the day that Jim realizes that he's fallen in love with her and proceeds to lightly kiss her rather than allow their normal session to begin...

I tell you I was hooked from the first to last page. Sure, I had a pretty good idea how the criminal mystery would play out...

But the real mystery I watched was how these three and later his mother, fought together to keep Jim alive, one day at a time, until he knew who the murderer was...  and when he did, barely being able to walk, he got his gun out--it was so heavy for him now--and he went after that criminal! Alone...


OMG, check this out!


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J.R. Rain is an ex-private investigator who now writes full-time in the Pacific Northwest. He lives in a small house on a small island with his small dog, Sadie, who has more energy than Robin Williams. Please visit him at www.jrrain.com.