I married my husband. COVID-19 changed everything.

I met Ruben in 2012 during a yoga class on Larchmont Avenue for people living with HIV. I want to greet him, “¡Hola! ¿Como estas? “ He is Mexican. I always speak first because he can’t see. He went blind many years ago. His friend David often drives him to class. I didn’t see Ruben after that. David died in surgery. Another classmate asked if I could take Ruben to yoga.

Seeing him twice a week in class means that as we drive together, and as I support him on the road with his cane, I feel more and more protected and loved by him. We started having an affair. When I first walked into his West Hollywood apartment, I was astounded by the quantity and quality of the artwork, mainly ceramic masks, which he produced in courses. studied at his Braille Institute. I curated his one-man exhibit at the Workers Circle on South Robertson Avenue, where he made enough money to buy an iPhone. He also displays prints from his Braille classes and some paintings from before he went blind.

Ruben has been in the US since about 1989 but remains undocumented. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that Ruben was a fake name. He is legally Juan José. He has consistently failed to meet pardon guidelines, and although we have consulted attorneys regarding his immigration status, they can offer little hope.

We have never lived together. At most, Ruben would stay with me one or two nights a week at my house in Palms. We were somewhere between beneficial friends and committed lovers. Neither of us has ever considered getting married.

Ruben lives with an ex-boyfriend. After Trump’s election, plans were made for Ruben to “self-deport” before getting into any trouble with the government. On Thanksgiving 2017, they packed a car and drove to El Paso, Texas. Bard said: “To love the well you have to leave for a long time.

Family members from Zacatecas came to pick up Ruben, never expecting to see him again in Mexico. He began to live with his brother in a house they co-inherited from their father in the middle of a long stairway street with about 50 uneven steps each way. Ruben’s mobility is severely damaged.

Ruben and I talk on the phone every day, and our relationship deepens. I think I’ll visit him in Mexico whenever I can, and we’ll enjoy whatever time we can together.

My first trip to Zacatecas was at the end of 2018, after he was there for a year. After two weeks, I could see how impoverished his life had become as a blind man with HIV, abandoned by friends, as well as the arts, the blind and the gay community. his. His family welcomed him back but had few clues as to how to help him achieve the independence he so cherished. They are overprotective of him, and he has increasingly become a tolerating appendage to a vast clan without his broad cultural interests. For example, no one has yet shown him how to negotiate the stairs from his house so he can go down and get a taxi on his own. That’s one thing I did with him on that trip.

To my surprise, before I returned home, Ruben asked me to marry him. I always feel happy when I’m with him and I love him, but I need to mull it over for a few weeks. In my 70s, I realized that I wanted him to grow old with me, and marriage would give us the posture to call him back. Only I can do that. I hired an immigration attorney to guide us through the obstacles.

And so we were the first gay couple to get married under the new policy in Zacatecas on May 23, 2019. We hired a 14-member mariachi band – more people to the wedding! My two sisters, my brother and his wife went to Zacatecas for a four-day vacation and got married. I’m 74 years old, Ruben is 66 years old. It was truly the happiest day of my life. I visited him again before the end of the year, and together we celebrated his 75th birthday.

Then there was COVID-19, and I couldn’t come back until the summer of 2021, a year and a half later. Meanwhile, despite extreme caution, he still contracted the virus in early 2021, and this is a serious case. His sister, a doctor, took great care of him at her home, and he made it through. When I met him over the summer, he seemed to be back to normal, although there are signs that I should recognize that he has lost some of his old wisdom.

I had never visited Oaxaca before, so we booked a five day trip there, which remains one of my most cherished memories. When we first walked into our hotel room, I orientated him on its layout – our bed, the other bed we could spread our clothes on, our shirt. robe, the entrance to the bathroom was two steps from the foot of the bed. Strangely, one day, he stood at the door unable to find his way into the room – a fog of brains that I didn’t recognize. That will be the last time I see him, even though we still talk on the phone every day. He insisted I wear a mask of porn in his hometown, apparently – for now – wanting it out of Mexico.

In November, his family came to the rescue again. Now Ruben has pneumonia, and again his sister has to shoulder the burden. We spoke on November 8, and he sounded terrible. I cried that Monday night. On Tuesday, I told him I was crying, but he seemed better and said I was being too dramatic. His sister called me at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to say that Juan José – Ruben – had closed his eyes and passed away. His lungs had been damaged by COVID too badly to resist this new attack.

Married for the first time at 74 years old, widowed at 76 years old.

The author is a culture editor for Nationworld.org, a biographer and a translator. He can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/eric.a.gordon.585.

LA Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its splendor in the LA area, and we’d love to hear your true story. We pay $300 for a published essay. Send an email to LAaffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission instructions here. You can find past columns here.

https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2022-08-05/found-love-joy-pandemic-happened-los-angeles-mexico-eric-a-gordon I married my husband. COVID-19 changed everything.

Russell Falcon

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