In The Beginning ...
I got my HIV+ diagnosis on March 7, 2003. I was disappointed more than shocked and resigned rather than despaired. But I had made a mistake. I had told The Ex that I was having an HIV test along with a physical. I'm not sure if I told him it was my first. (Typically, being an overachiever I tested positive right on the first try.) I went home to my empty apartment. I think I cleaned. I know I straightened the place up. It helps me think. I kept looking at the sheet with my diagnosis on it, hoping against hope I would find some loophole to get me out of this. I'm still looking. I absentmindedly shuffled and re-shuffled the appointment cards for blood work and doctor visits I had collected in just one day. It was more than the last five years combined.
The Ex got home from work that evening on time. I heard him moving around on his side of the apartment. I knew he was changing clothes and maybe checking mail.. My face felt hot and my heart was beating faster. I was hoping maybe he had forgotten my test results were due and wouldn't think to ask. As he was entering the living room the words were already coming out of his mouth:
"So, did you get your test results back?"
Fuck! All I said was,
"What does that mean?"
"I tested positive."
I thought I was ready for any number of responses to this information. He surprised even me.
"Well let's see, the last time we had sex was over two years ago, and I think I've tested negative since then, so I.."
I cut him off.
"Don't! Don't you dare make this about you right now. How could you? I have a lot to take in.
Shock. Tears. Anger. Disappointment. A promise to help. A hug. Comfort. Those were all the emotions I was prepared to deal with. Not this selfish bastard standing in front of me. I can' t remember the last time I was so hurt. It makes me want to cry just remembering it here. Today it also makes me feel very alone. It was then that I realized I couldn't count on him if things got really bad.
We continue to live together, we split the bills, buy furniture, occasionally go out or travel together. I pretend to give him a say in the general decor of our apartment. But some of our history died that day. Or maybe that was the day our future was rewritten. A part of me knows that I shouldn't carry this around with me. I should find a way to get past it. To express it expel it and move on. I know his response, while inappropriate, was at least understandable. I want to forgive him. But I'm not sure if I ever will.
Give It To Me Till It Hurts...
If I may be so bold as to ask for your help. Even after experiencing it, as I called it last year, "more like the death march to Battan." I am once again pushing my stilletos to the back of the closet and dragging out my Nike power walkers and taking part in this year's AIDSWalk NY held every May right here in Central Park. I anticipate a much more pleasant experience this year as I'll be traveling much lighter and getting to bed the night before much earlier. But seeing as how I don't like to bother my customers, OK I don't like to speak to them, and also because I let the rest of my staff shake those rich wrinkled bitches down, I'm appealing to you, my loyal readers. All 50 of you. I've set a modest $100.00 fundraising goal so how hard can this be?
You can follow the link: Sponsor a Walker on the AIDSWalk menu bar or just click here.
Participant's First Name: Tom ... Last Name T. I'll probably remind you every day this week so I apologize in advance.