” But Sharkey’s magic—like Nanas’s fond memory—is small consolation for Elena Monica.
As a stereotypical nerd, Rusty began his freshman year looking to shed his image and have fun.But not before lacing her family with the painful truth. It was Nannette’s husband, Kenny D’Aquila, who called Corbett Monica and, after briefly trying to prepare him, said, “Dad, Elena’s HIV-positive.” “Let me talk to her,” he said. “It’s a decision we made because once it gets out, your career is over,” says Nanas.“Nobody knows in their heart if HIV-positive means you can’t kiss a woman.She says she had been involved with two men before meeting Sharkey. ” He had been repeatedly tested, he declared, and die results were “fine.” In July 1991 just when they had begun looking for an apartment together, Monica began to feel ill. “I was getting weaker, and my head felt like it was about to explode.” She checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and was diagnosed with a near fatal bout of aseptic meningitis, an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. “It was like wailing for a death sentence,” says Shannon von Roemer, a friend who accompanied her to get the results: once again, positive.Both assured her, she says, that they too had tested negative. Cradled in Von Roemer’s arms, Monica wept, “Who is ever going to love me? A few weeks later, Sharkey, shooting CBS’s The Hal Squad series in Vancouver, was arrested for possession of narcotics and fired from the show.A recovering alcoholic and former cocaine user (Monica has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings since the mid-’80s), the Englewood, N.