When the Right One Comes Along is a short story that begins in the mid-80s, when AIDS was just starting to make the transition from obscure illness to public health crisis, when a young boy named Ryan White was fighting for the right to attend public school, and Rock Hudson became the first celebrity to succumb to the disease. It was a time when fear of all the unknowns of the virus and how it was transmitted caused a backlash of panic and extreme measures to attempt to slow down the spread of the illness. It was a time when it was believed a mere kiss could be potentially fatal.
This is the story of Philip Noland, who loses his best friend Jonathan, then begins to fear he too might have AIDS when the night sweats and trembling of his stress and anxiety put the fear in him because they so closely resemble symptoms of the disease. But in spite of that fear, Philip is also a man who is still very much looking for love and someone to share his life with, though looking and finding leads Philip into a relationship that ends in a heartbreaking way but ultimately leads him to The One who will stand beside him for many years to come.
Orson Welles once said, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” Had When the Right One Comes Along ended any sooner, it would have been regarded as a tragic romance, but Paul Alan Fahey kept Philip’s story going just long enough to give him his happily-ever-after, which, in the end, is the best we can ever hope for.
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