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Day 32 ocean swim

This count up of days is more accurately a count down of remaining good days. But time has nearly always been important to me. That interest began when I met Richard Black back in, oh it must have been 1986 or 87, when I was working as a nurse’s aid in a convalescent home in Eureka, California. It was a part time, weekend job while I was still in university. Richard was there when I began, though it was months before I met him, as he was housed all alone in an enormous room once used for laundry, and which had been made hastily into somewhere an untouchable person could be kept, the doorknob to his room holding a small red sign emblazoned “caution”. I didn’t know anyone was even in there, until one day when I was assigned to do some task for the occupant. I discovered a man all alone inside, gaunt like a concentration camp survivor—all alone, and with the deepest pain of loneliness in his eyes. Richard Black had AIDS, in a time before effective treatment, and he was dying, and everyone was afraid of him. He had no family and no one ever came to see him, staff only entering and exiting quickly as soon as their duty in that room was complete. This was before the Internet and Richard’s only distraction in that windowless cell was an old television and a remote control. I was afraid too. But I came back.