Chapter 25 …

fallow - adjective 1. (of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated

In last week’s chapter Jeff and Mark had a private discussion about what was best for Leo and agreed getting him back into school was the way to go. Mark promised to support Jeff’s efforts to do so while Jeff offered to help Mark find a better job.

In the weeks that followed both promises were fulfilled, with Leo enrolling in an alternative school on Capitol Hill while Mark found a new job with Jeff’s assistance in the congressional mailroom of one of Jeff’s gay friends.

If you were gay, it was all about networking even back then apparently; at least that’s what I’ve been told by those who contributed so much to this story.

Jeff was less successful in getting the medical appointments with prominent physicians he hoped would be better able to help Jimmy. As he soon discovered, most physicians were uninterested in treating patients with AIDS back then.

Instead, they would refer people to the handful of overworked doctors willing to do so. In the end, Jeff found himself spending more and more time arranging Jimmy’s medical care and getting him to his appointments and counseling sessions.

Indeed, Jeff and Jimmy eventually ended up in a counseling group aimed at helping couples deal with all the problems that came with AIDS.

Separately, Jeff decided to offer his resignation to his boss, Congressman Bresnahan, in the hope of spurring him to become more involved in the fight against AIDS. Though perhaps not the smartest strategy in the world, it apparently worked when the Congressman rejected Jeff’s resignation and promised to help.

Spurred into action, Jeff suggested to Tim and Susan that their bosses, Congressmen Wellman and Wilson, should take the lead in creating a new House AIDS Task Force to put more pressure on the Reagan Administration to do something about the burgeoning AIDS crisis. As part of that effort, he also proposed creating a staff working group for the Task Force.

To be co-chaired by Tim and Susan, the working group would do much of the actual work of the Task Force through three subcommittees; one focused on media outreach and public education, one on getting more members involved in the work of the Task Force, and a third focused on securing more funding.

Although that’s where we left things hanging last week, tonight’s chapter will take us back to a significant issue that both Jeff and Jimmy will struggle to deal with in the months ahead; Jeff more so perhaps.

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