James F. is in the middle of exams right now - actually, his finals. I remember when he was just a keen fresher, so time's flown there. He was asking how life is with me at the moment, and said that he was planning to call me when he'd finished the exams. I said "Oh, don't worry - I understand that I'm less important than exams" and he replied "Not less important - less urgent. There's a difference." I liked that.
John is just amazingly busy with work, and apparently if I want to see him anytime soon, I'll have to book up a few weeks in advance. This is something I'm not particularly good at, as I'm the sort of person who wakes up, notices it's sunny, decides to do something and rings everyone who's likely to be free. I _can_ make plans, but it takes a bit of effort.
I was very glad to get hold of N., as I've been worried about him for a while. He has lots of health problems, and I'd sent him a letter just before the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, asking him to get in contact soon - and that was in the middle of March! I first started trying to ring him just before I went to the US, around the 20th April - then I couldn't call while I was in the US, and as I've said previously I got home and collapsed in a heap. I kept trying to call, but his phone was always engaged. I knew he was at least vaguely ok on the basis that he was using the phone, but that's not the same as actually speaking to him.
So tonight I actually managed to have a conversation with N. for the first time in about 3 months. It turns out that he's not been well, but then I hadn't been expecting much else. His T cell count has dropped again so he's on evil anti-HIV drugs that have to be taken at midday, 4pm and midnight. They come with a whole load of side-effects, and the main one that's a problem at the moment is that he's not sleeping properly, and when he does manage to sleep he's having bad dreams. I can relate to that - I have bad dreams when I'm depressed or if I forget to take my anti-depressants, and they're not fun at all. Also it's depressing to have his life regimented by drugs - he can't escape from the HIV even for a day, because every day he has to remember to take these tablets at set times. I can relate to that a bit, because I have lots of medicines that I'm supposed to take at various times during the day (for asthma and hay fever, and starflower oil, without which my joints stiffen up and I can't move, and anti-depressants) and I've definitely felt that all I do is take tablets - but I don't suffer greatly if I forget to take a dose of any of them, so it's not the same thing at all.
He said that last Friday was the first anniversary of his diagnosis. I remember going to see him that evening, knowing that he had something important to tell me and guessing that it was that he was HIV+. In some ways I can't believe that was only a year ago, and in other ways I'm amazed that it was as long as a year ago.
I enjoy talking to N. because he always comes out with really profound statements. I told him about Richard's mum, and he said that the way she died (suddenly) was "the easiest way for her to go, but the hardest for everyone who cared about her".