“Undetectable = Untransmittable” was written boldly on the wall. It stank of death. I have always thought that hospitals should have clean flowery fragrance, it should smell of life, but every hospital I have ever been to smelt of death; of lives lost; tears shed; goodbyes left unsaid. Hospitals are truly the safest places on Earth, but this was not a hospital, no this was something worse; a clinic for HIV positive patients. So while hospitals smelt of death, this place smelt worse. It had this feel, the feel you get when you walk into a mortuary or the way you imagine the girl feels in the movies just before a serial murderer kills her.
I remember the way I felt when the doctor said I was Positive; the way he said Positive like I was automatically supposed to know what it meant and truthfully, I did. I had sat there staring at him, willing him to laugh and say it was all a joke. I didn’t feel the way the actors in the movies feel when they’re told of their new status; I didn’t cry, I didn’t fall to the ground wailing at the top my lungs; I had sat there face blank and unable to feel. I remember saying “about time” to the surprise of the doctor. He suggested I met with a counselor which I declined. I called Jeigh for some reason I couldn’t tell but the call didn’t go through and I cussed him under my breath. I remember calling Ebuka and asking him to tell me a joke that I laughed loudly to when he did which only made the doctor suggest again that I met with the counselor. Ebuka told me of his ex who just days ago found out that he too was positive, on some weird level this made me feel not alone. But after I ended the call, I hated that he told me that, did he think it made me part of a community now? A community of people who had to stick together and sniff out who else was positive? A community of people who should meet up once every month to remind themselves that their lives as they know it isn’t over? Would he tell someone else that his friend too is positive?
I remember the night I met him. Or I think it’s him I got it from. He was tall. That was the only good quality he had; he was tall. I think I would have accepted it better if I got infected by someone cute or someone who was considerate or even from someone who was good in the other room. But no; of all my sexcapades, it was this ugly, silly, proud tall man that got me infected.
Sometimes I search my phone book for his contacts but then I remember I deleted it after I got the news. I can’t say I felt better after I deleted the number, but I had to do it, I had to delete it. I couldn’t trust myself not to call him and yell; to yell at him for knowingly having unprotected sex with me. But what if he didn’t know, what if he didn’t know he was positive? This is why I deleted his number; I wanted him to remain oblivious, to not know his status. I wanted to wake up one day and see his obituary, oh the joy I would feel; or would I? Would I feel better? Would it make me any less HIV positive?
I can’t say I have spent my days being sad and crying. The day after I found out, I had a “moment” with two random guys. You might say that’s the reason i got the infection in the first place but I’ll be damned if I let this ruin my life or my happiness. I think I’ve read everything ever written on “Living long while being positive” and I’m doing as much as I can. I don’t want to die but I don’t want to live without living. I won’t apologize to the world for being positive. I won’t walk around being sorry; I have nothing to be sorry for.
I’m back here, they’ve taken my samples, they tell me I would be able to know my viral load in three months. I call Femi, he’s at home. I think I’ll go visit him. My phone rings, it’s Kene “Babes kedu? Are you done” he asks. I smile, My boyfriend, mine. He’s still at the reception, Femi would have to wait.