Bobby was living with a guy in the early '90s on Dyckman Street who later told him that he had HIV. He then moved to the Bronx with his beautiful girlfriend Glenette, who he was with for a few years. They never had sex. Then everything changed, "One night I was really, really, really fucking horny and I was like 'baby please' and I begged her so much and she was going to give me sex… [but then] I said, 'Do you know what? I can't do this to you… If I have sex with you now, I will rearrange your whole fucking life… fuck the sex." Suddenly, his words began to slur and tears flowed down his face, getting trapped in his beard. Before parting ways, he told her, "I can't lay next to you every night and not want to make love to you."
She was wonderful, keeping him off the streets and away from alcohol (he started drinking at 14 and was completely addicted by 18). He had been sober for a while since he began treatment. But one night, he said to himself, "Just one drink." Of course, that one sip of alcohol got him right back into the rut. Out of nowhere, Bobby began selling all of his punk clothing in order to feed his addiction. He said to me, "every time she pops into my head, I push her away and I try to think of another thought; I don't want to think about her, so my mind focuses on the alcohol instead." It hurts me to even talk about this. The saddest part is that every time I see him, he can't remember my face: it's as if his mind presses "restart" when he blanks out. It's the same stories, same everything. He always says, "you're the only one that actually sits down with me and has a full conversation with me." Last time I saw him—feces oozing out of the bottom and back of his pants—he told me, "I got a habit, I got to feed it: it's calling me, it's in my brain, it's screaming 'Bobby, come get me,' and I'm going to get her." As he stands, a visible stain is left on cement from his excrement. He begins crying: "I want to call her… I love her with all my heart: she means everything in the world to me. She's always stood by me. That's my girl. I don't like to talk about it, it gets me stupid. You should've never brought her up." Thinking I was going to shoot up with him, he warned, "You're not using my needle though—you have to get two sets. I'm not letting you use my needle. I have The Virus, you know."
Photographs & Words: Abdul Kircher