The time is 1989 and set in the midst of one of the most historic epidemics in American history the rise of HIV/ AIDS. Samantha, a woman who is living with the disease shares her story of her life and how she came to be infected. She knew she was a lesbian at a young age but due to her upbringing knew she would never be accepted by her family. Her life changes the day she meets Keri Duran, real life historical woman activist for the fight of HIV/ AIDS recognition in women. Keri gave Samantha the will to fight even though she knew she was dying. Being with her and holding her hand when she was diagnosed as positive and giving her the ability to stand for something she believed in. Samantha never saw herself as a strong person until she found her voice and her ability to breathe, Keri gave her that. This story shares the life of women with HIV/ AIDS in an era when they weren’t represented as people who are infected. It is a great story of solidarity and friendship and how the most influential person in our lives may be the person that randomly walks into our lives unexpectantly and stays with us forever. As Samantha writes her obituary her passion for the life she lived is clear, hoping that someone will remember her and she will never be forgotten.
DI/ Breathing In An Epidemic
- (Samantha stands looking out into the audience, a crowd of people. She doesn’t move for a moment, then she smiles and takes a few small steps forward. Her slow and labored movements create the presence of a fragile woman, but still very strong. She quiets the crowd that is cheering for her, clears her throat, opens a journal she has with her and speaks.) (Reading, laughing) Standing before this crowd of absolutely beautiful souls takes me back to one of my best childhood memories. I was seven and my dad was teaching me to ride a bike but he didn’t tell me he had “fixed” the brakes. And as I sped down the hill all by myself for the first time I realized shit I had to stop. I quickly found myself airborne, flipping a few times and finally on the ground, looking up. (Laughs, to audience) Wasn’t in any pain, it was one of those moments, moments; I started crying because I was scared. Lying on the ground, knees scraped up, bike in the street and my heart was pounding, much like it is now. (Smiles) It was the fear that a little girl has when she’s not sure if she’s okay. (Beat) But I was, my dad ran over, laughing at me, which made me cry more, but then I found myself laughing too. I knew I would be okay. I guess I’m connecting to that right now. The fear of not knowing, but the comfort from the support I’m getting from all of you, of family. Keri would be proud, look at all of us here, together, stronger than ever. She would tell us, “You have all these people gathered, now get off your asses and get some work done.” (Laughs) Yes, there is still much work to be done.