Lemuel Jones, 76, is all alone. At Martin Luther King Jr. Towers in Harlem, where Jones has lived since 1958, there is “no place for old men,” he said.
It wasn’t always like this. Nineteen years ago, Jones’s friend Henry Sherwood asked if he could stay in Jones’s apartment overnight. Chronically unemployed and mired in an alcoholic depression, Sherwood stayed for 12 years. When he was in his mid-50s, Sherwood met a young woman from Brooklyn. At about the same time, he started having unprotected sex with young, substance-abusing women from around the area. Sherwood’s girlfriend got sick and died soon afterwards.
At 57, Sherwood was diagnosed with HIV. He didn’t tell Jones he was sick until three years later. Within a few months, he was dead.
Now, Jones is left with only his grief for company.