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Don Short: stories in transit

Don Short: stories in transit

I always enjoyed a good story. In the province of my youth, they call it spinning a yarn.

Whenever a story is shared, a truth, insight or perception is often picked up by the reader, even if unintentional of the author. That’s the power of words.

Words became more significant to me when I was hit hard with a series of traumatic events. Life can be tricky and messy. Job loss silenced me, along with bullying and harassment, broken relationships, numerous deaths, and isolation. I joined a therapy writing group and as words spilled out the hurt, I moved toward the art of writing for needed healing solace, inspiration, and direction. What surprisingly emerged was resurrected joy and a bunch of creative non-fiction.

My former blog Don Short: Life in Transit is still intact but now renamed Don Short: Stories in Transit. I will be posting stories that are true or imaginary, not in real-time sequence. They will relate to HIV because I, the writer, am HIV positive. Don’t assume they are all about me if I use the first person. I bring in the experiences of others to bring relevance to what I am trying to say. 

 I hope the writing will resonate and inspire as I share my stories in transit.


Towering disparity

Thursday, 25 May 2017 Written by // Don Short: stories in transit Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Don Short: stories in transit

While city towers grow upward, a fresh perspective of village life is required.

Towering disparity

You have your tower.

From polished stone and tempered glass, village life assumes tolerable perspective. Each man below is classified and labelled to correlate with choice of coffee shop habitation; a neo-modern caste system veiled by towering disparity.

Some men sleep with little, all, or nothing.

You sleep in a cushy cocoon spun with a high thread count, supported by stacking IKEA mattresses to heighten the experience; breezy jazz pipes through your walls. Sometimes, a scream or siren disrupts your spa dream but it only lasts a moment - these city sounds are miniscule and transitory to you.

There are moments when you see it all…and that’s when comparisons are drawn. It’s not a question of what does the world need from you now but what have you bucket-listed in your inventory of dreams? Or better yet - what pressing want is your priority this afternoon?

Acquisition created this singular panoramic view. Rarely do you climb down your ladder to remember former steps of where you once braced yourself.

But have you come far?

Today, you strut to subway station, passing the sea of coffee enthusiasts. The café ahead hosts international fare, a mix of students and young urban professionals. You frequent there but prefer to be seen sipping lattes brewed in grass-roots neighborhood ventures.

One must do his part.

Across the street, there are middle-aged men with mobile phones raised as a new barista customer lines up an approachable distance recorded by Scruff or Grindr. Conversations there are minimal bytes of sound. You recollect another cafe where older men sleep or nap on soiled newspapers. You have never walked through those dingy doors.

Subway door opens …all thoughts compressed.

I ate with you on weekends; brunch with the boys you called it. There I learned codes and conduct - the tiers of acceptability.

- “Oh…he’s just that way – don’t take what he says seriously”

- “Could you believe what he was wearing?”

- “Got a great deal on a condo that was trashed by meth whores”

- “Where is it you work? An AIDS Service Organization?”

Full stop.


Brunch banter lowered to an uncomfortable silence like seagulls awaiting a storm.

But the world is open.

It contains the mundane and beautiful, the oppressed and affluent.

Your slice is but a piece of a larger pie. Your silence is deafening.

Assumptions may carve out your walls but the barricade you build fails to create a safer space.

Compassion and empathy may leak into your room and one day, flood your portals. There will be collateral damage but you will learn to swim in the common pool.

You remind me to calculate my own checks and balances.

My want is to build a bridge for my brothers.

No towers.