Life: Getting Myself Tested For HIV

I want you to know that I hate clinics. And pills.

A couple weeks ago, a person I had previously hooked up with contacted me to say he was HIV positive. I stood there quietly as I reread his text. I was shocked and didn’t know how to feel. I asked him when he found out and if I should be worried. He told me he had been positive for 6 months, but that he was undetectable now. He kept on insisting that we should sex again and to forget about using condoms. I stopped listening. He continued going on about how condoms burn him, make him break out, and how much he loved bareback sex. I just hung up. But I didn’t mean to be rude. He chose to engage in high risk behaviors and became HIV positive. I chose not to have sex with him again.

I walked into the clinic early in the morning the next day. I gave the receptionist my personal information and told her that I had been to this particular clinic before. She smiled and told me to wait in the lobby until I was called. I took a seat and saw a couple holding hands in front of me. They were watching T.V. and occasionally the guy would burst out laughing. I smiled. They were a cute couple. On the left of me was a girl who looked no more than 20 years old. She stared at the T.V., but never laughed. Not even during the funny parts. I continued watching T.V. until the nurse called my name.

I walked into the other room and knew the procedure. I took everything out of my pockets and got weighed. I had lost four pounds. The nurse gave me a small container to pee in and told me go inside the bathroom. I took a pee, left the container inside, washed my hands, and stared at myself in the mirror. I stood there for a few minutes. Then I began to cry. I don’t know why. After, I washed my face, walked to another room, and waited for the doctor.

She was petite and had a friendly smile. She asked the usual questions: Are you on any type of medication? Are you experiencing any type of symptoms? How many sex partners have you had since your last check up? I told her that I was not on any type of medication and I didn’t know what were symptoms of HIV. She started explaining a few symptoms and I just nodded. I really just wanted to leave. She then asked how many sex partners I had in the last year and suddenly I became sad. I told her I didn’t know. It was a pretty rough year for me. She told me to make an estimate, so I did. I had never lied to a doctor before. She made a note, walked toward the door, and said the nurse would be there shortly to take my blood.

I waited quietly for the nurse. She walked inside and told me to extend my right arm so she could take my blood. I did as I was told and looked the other way. I didn’t want to see her or the needle. I had always been afraid of seeing blood. As, I sat there staring at the wall, I thought about the first time I got tested and how scary the experience had been. I thought about the time I found out I had gonorrhea and the embarrassment I felt telling my partners. I thought about how much I hated taking the pill to get rid of it. I thought about how I could recall the number of sex partners a few years earlier and how I now couldn’t. I then felt a sharp pain on my arm. I never was used to the needle. The nurse told me it would be over soon. I said okay and continued looking at the wall. Time had never moved more slowly in my life.

Once done, the nurse gave me condoms and told me to check out in the front. I walked to the receptionist and she said that the clinic would call if the results showed anything positive. I thanked her and quickly walked to my car. I sat there and looked at the bandage that the nurse put on my arm and touched it lightly. The pain was gone. There was nothing I could do now, but wait to get my results. And for a small moment, everything seemed alright. I started the car, hid the bag of condoms in the glove compartment, and drove home.

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My Short Poem About Life

I don’t think anybody really knew me. But then again, I hardly think anyone really cared. This is a poem of my short  life. And by the time you read this. It will probably be too late. But I really did try. Here is my poem:

“They thought he was a joke. So they laughed.

They thought he never replied. So they left.

Maybe it was all for the best.

He lived another day. No matter how hard he resisted.

He lost everything. Even happiness left.

He should have hugged it one last time.

No one knew why he never returned.”

Hard to believe. But perhaps my life was meant to be short.

“No flowers, no funeral, no nothing.”

 

UPDATE: I would first like to thank all of you for the supportive comments. I did not expect much of anything when I published this post. I truly apologize for making people worry about my life. That was not my intention. I really didn’t think anyone cared. I was just feeling pretty lousy with life. I do want to say, that what I published yesterday was how I felt at some point in my life, so I don’t want to dismiss those feelings of sadness, isolation, and rejection. Funny, after I published my post, my best friend sent me a message. She doesn’t know about my blog, but she finally wanted to talk with me. And that was enough for me to keep going. I decided to change the format and the post out of convenience for everyone. Once again, thank you for being there for me. I really do appreciate the support and lovely comments. Thank you.

– Eddy

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The Night My Life Changed: An Introduction

So it began. The night that turned everything in my life around. I don’t know how it happened, but in some strange way, I kind of anticipated it. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you’re walking home on a quiet night after a long day of doing good and you suddenly stop, look at the stars, and you can’t help but smile. Or when you’re wandering around a big city during the peak hours of the day and you can’t help but feel like you belong. You feel good and anticipate more. I was once told that in life, the things that make an impact in our lives will randomly come. They will hit hard. And maybe, just maybe, they will last a life time. I’m sorry to say that this event didn’t last a life time.

Ten days earlier, I had spent my 21st birthday alone in my room. I don’t know why. I had a lot to celebrate. I was going  to graduate with my AA degree in a few days, move to San Francisco in a few months, and live the college life for two whole years. But none of that mattered. My birthday hadn’t meant anything to anyone in such a long time. I wished myself a happy birthday and continued on with my life.

The impact of being 21 wouldn’t register until months later, for now, I was back to my daily routine of finding potential friends online. For every ten messages I sent, I would get a reply from one or two guys. The rejection was brutally painful and the process dangerously lonely.

To be honest, I had no idea of who I would talk to that night. I was only trying to cure my boredom. It’s surprising how a single message could change your life, but that’s what happened. I mean, I didn’t know it in that instance. And I guess that’s what made his appearance into my life that more special.

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