This morning, I noticed a spot on my face, on the corner of my mouth, and I thought that the tell-tale signs are here. Now I know that everyone who sees me will start pointing with, "you see, there is another sign of someone with AIDS. Thin and infectious spots on the face."
At the moment, I don't think I will really care if I hear that behind my back, or infront of me at the bus line. Maybe I will care when I hear it, or much after, like when I am asleep in bed. I have become very good at smiling alot in the day and crying alot when alone at night. It's not like I do not have people around me (Thanks Jamie for your encouraging comment and opening your arms to me), I have an extended family, friends, colleagues... lots of people. It's just that they are the very same people I don't want to see at the moment. I don't want to say I am fine and well when asked how I am, for it will be one big lie. Yet, I am still not ready to reveal my current condition. I don't want to be felt sorry for. I don't want anyone crying for me (I am doing enough of that for the world as it is). So, you see, I do have people around me, just not the people I would like to sit and share this with. I need to find my own group, people going through what I am going through, people who have been here before, in the first steps of the journey and been lost like I am. I want to talk to somebody who will not look at me funnily or move his/her seat abit further from me. I want to talk to somebody who will tell me about the drugs that will keep my count healthy... someone in the know. I need to listen to someone who once thought that suicide was the best medicine invented for the HIV/AIDS virus but decided not to be a test guinea-pig... for that's where I was a while ago.
That is why I went into a VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing centre) today. I found this nice lady at the reception desk who asked how she could help me. There were a number of people at the reception, so I tried to keep my voice low. I told her that I was there to seek advice on issues touching on AIDS.
"Do you seek this advice on your behalf?" She asked me, as loud as she could be.
"Yes, it is for me." I replied, in a still small voice.
"Have you had a test done on you yet?" This woman must be on something, she doesn't notice I am trying to keep this conversation between us.
"Yes, I have had a test."
"What were the results?" she asked.
"What do you think? I am back seeking advice, so what could the results be? Could you try and keep it low, please?" I asked politely.
"Oh don't worry," she tried to assure me, "all these people are here for more or less the same reason as you, so don't feel shy."
"Well, I don't care if they are here to pick their lunch or bury their mothers. I just don't want to share my business around." I was now speaking between clenched teeth.
"I am sorry but this is a public office and..."
I didn't hear the rest, I was already walking out. I felt so mad. Why couldn't she understand? I don't know if I over reacted, but I now find it funny as I narrate the conversation. It definitely wasn't funny then, it was more frustrating than funny. But now I smile as I write this. And I have a funny feeling that there is a whole world out there, waiting to come around if only I will let it. I am getting there. Not today, and I do not promise about tomorrow... but with every day, and with every step I take, I will keep trying to find my place in this new world. For now, the journey continues.