Taylor Siluwé, the author, and my friend, is dead. He was 45.
The news came, like the news usually does these days, on Facebook - some ambiguous words on someone's status update that gives a hint of something awry - but the words on fellow blogger The Gayte-Keeper's feed didn't leave room for misinterpretation: "Rest in peace Taylor Siluwé".
I knew Taylor was sick. He'd been diagnosed with lung cancer - fucking cigarettes - and was documenting his treatment on his blog, SGL Café. He did so with typical Taylor flare, and one of his last posts detailed his ill-advised escape from hospital, and gardening adventures with Trel, his boo. That was the Taylor I know and love, doing what he shouldn't be with a dude "half his age".
So I knew he was sick. And a friend told me lung cancer was the worst of the worst. But I just thought, hoped, told myself, he'd be alright. He had to be.
I read The Gayte-Keeper's status a couple of times, not quite taking it in, and then, with a mounting sense of panic, clicked on Taylor's Facebook page. The wall posts, real grief, virtual grief, were already mounting up. His boo Trel's page was groaning under the weight of condolences. Premier blogger Rod McCullom already had an obituary posted, as had Lambda Literary. And I broke down; I wept, and I've been crying for the last couple of hours. My friend is dead.
I've known Taylor for several years. He's supported me and my blog with a banner at the top of his. He liked what I was doing. He liked me, and I liked him. We chitchatted back and forth, and he came to be a trusted friend. More than that, a role model: more than ten years older (not that you'd know to look at him) he was the cool head and guiding hand more than a few times when I needed advice.
I once wrote a piece about David McAlmont's Diamonds Are Forever video. He was ridulously excited about this new (to him) black, openly gay artist. I promised I'd send him all his CDs, and set about acquiring McAlmont's back catalogue. That was a year or two ago. I had a couple of discs still left to find. That little pile of CDs is still gathering dust in a cupboard. I wish I'd sent them sooner.
To those of you who didn't know him, or hadn't read his blog or his books, or heard his dreams or ambitions, it's hard to desribe him. Razor sharp and one of the smartest people I've been lucky enough to meet, he was sexy (hell, have you seen those lips? They're a work of art!), and ambitious, a dreamer, and brilliant. He had a heart of gold. He was one of us. He was my friend.