grabbing sheets

I cried after the doctor left my room.

I had been in the hospital for a couple of days already and even though the day before the Dermatologist who had stop by to do a biopsy had mentioned the possibility of it being the HIV virus, I thought not me.

Tough as it was I had to digest the idea that I was now another HIV patient with Kaposi’s Sarcoma as the initial sign that things weren’t going to be easy any time soon.

He held my hand, the doctor, as he sat on my bed and began to explain the results of the many test they had ran that week. It seemed like there was a large pill in his mouth making it difficult for him to say out loud what it was that was wrong with me. I grabbed on to the bed sheets as his words spilled out like tainted water staining slowly the little hope I had of getting cured of whatever it was that my body was suddenly screaming help for.

I wanted to cry immediately but held to the sheets as his voice faded away and I concentrated on processing the facts that were being given to me like bitter pills coated with his sweet attempt at making it sound much better than it really was.

I flashed back to my health class, sophomore year and tried to recollect the little information I remembered from the HIV lecture. All I could think about though was that HIV had no cure and I was bound to die sooner or later.

I felt death creep up my spine at that moment and settle somewhere between my spinal cord and my sanity. I wanted to push his hand away, scream and ask him to save me! I wanted so much to sob and hold on to my mother. I wanted time to stop, get up and smash the clock from the wall as if that would make any difference.

I think he noticed my absence and asked if I was ok. No, I wasn’t ok. I wanted him to leave quickly so I could rip my brain out and ask myself what I had done wrong.

I nodded, tried very hard to put out a smile. I think he sensed the loneliness creeping in and so he excused himself and promised to come back at another time.

As soon as he left tears left my body like missiles fighting an unwinnable war. I shot cuss words left and right, hoping to injure the still air that had suddenly build around me and couldn’t let me breathe.

I cried for the next  24 hours. I let pain do what it does best and began to wonder when and where it was that I would take my last breath. The clock in front of my bed began to mock me. I could hear every second go by with a loud “tic” announcing me that time was of essence and long gone.

By nightfall I told myself to cry it all out. I promised myself that this would be my weakest moment. Let the tears overflow like massive rivers running down my face but come tomorrow not one single tear would fall.

I pulled myself together the next day, I armed myself with all the courage I could find and began to build a new future.

I thought about the ruins in Greece. Those beautiful marble stones that were once landmarks of gods and monsters, and figured I was like that. Just because we were broken and no longer intact did not mean we were less beautiful or easily brought down. No. They stood there, fragile and yet strong and very much alive despite the odds of time. That would be me. A landmark etched in stone for many more ages to come. It may sound a little vain, comparing myself to

beautiful things but I could not allow this to take over my optimistic spirit that had for years flied proudly through all trials of life. This was not the very thing that would stop me from living the life I had design. This was no punishment or karma, this was the push I’d been seeking to live life even more intensely than before. Live it like God intended me to- furiously consuming and devouring every inch of the beautiful mantel that cradles us.

So I will hold on.

Hold on like I did that day at the hospital to my bed sheets as the doctor spoke. The irony is that holding on to bed sheets, clutching them with my fist or sometimes my teeth as I made love to a stranger was what got me me in that hospital bed. I guess I can laugh at it now, what else is there to do?


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