why you gotta be so complicated?

“Not that I don’t care about you, just that things got so compliqeés eh, eh…”


Where do I begin? A lot has happened in the last Eight months. I know, it feels like an eternity but since June things have gone from complicated to compliqueé.

For starters I should say that it’s a huge relief to know that even though we’ve had our indiscretions Peter is completely clean. He is not infected and I am so relieved. We’ve talked about Prep- the pill that promises to protect him from the germs that infect my body but it has only been a “here and there” conversation.

I stopped going to my clinic. The once simple routine I had with them suddenly became a huge hassle. I no longer had secured appointments or a definite idea of when and where I would have chemo. I drove sometimes the two hours just to be turned around because there was not enough staff to take care of all it’s patients or because my medicine had not arrived. The obvious situation in our country with our current government under Trump makes finding a way to survive that much more difficult.

Frustration took over this Scorpio and when it came time to re-apply for their assistance program I decided it’d be best to look elsewhere.

At the same time this was going on Peter started to have issues with his legal status. His probation officer started to threaten him with revoking his case. Another complication in the already complicated  world I call my life. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t pay attention to the warnings it was more of me that affected the outcome. He became so wrapped up in me-in my needs- in my life that he dismissed the repercussions that would come.

A month after leaving the clinic and with no prospects of finding a new one, Winter came and with that so did an annoying cough that seemed to increase as the temperature outside did too. I paid little to no attention to it and just brushed it off as something normal that comes with the seasonal cold weather. But it wasn’t.

Before I knew it and without me caring the cough became a burden. So much so that I started sleeping sitting up in order to be able to get some rest. There I was- with no medicine, with no clinic, no doctor, and with a horrible cough that took every breath away with no apologies.  I began to worry when I realized that it wasn’t just a simple cough and that it could be something more serious like Bronchitis or Pneumonia. I began to lose weight like crazy. My energy decreased and before I knew it I was quitting my job. By new years I was bed bound.

An order for Peters arrest was served and we suddenly found ourselves being Bonnie and Clyde. His probation officer decided that he wasn’t doing enough, that the money being given to the court every month was not sufficient to keep him off her wanted list. He seemed not to care that a warrant for his arrest was issued immediately, instead he wrapped himself in my bubble and became more consumed in my health than in anything else. I believe he avoided his arrest not because he wanted his freedom but because he wanted to have the freedom to be with me if anything happened.

For the next couple of weeks I searched for another clinic again. The curse of living in a small town is that judgement is wide open and clinics with assistance programs are closed.  I called different places hoping that at some point some one would refer me to anything or anyone that could help me out. Medicine still hadn’t changed it’s price in the last couple of months and I could not afford (literally) going another month without my meds.

Nights became a nightmare. I could barely sleep coughing every second of every hour. My lungs bursting with pain. My body shedding pounds like crazy and my appetite nowhere to be found.

Peter would stay up late night after night making sure that I didn’t choke in my sleep. Checking every hour that my breathing was normal or that I was even breathing. By five in the morning he would reach his breaking point and fall asleep. That was our winter routine. That became my life and I hit another breaking point.

I had my first breakdown a year ago but not like this one. This one was deep. I don’t know if it was the fact that getting any type of help, let alone medicine to survive, seemed to be like this huge odyssey that could not come to an end. Or if it was the stress of knowing that at any given moment I could lose Peter the rock that keeps me from falling apart, but I crumbled. I knew that if that did happen I would not have the motivation to fight. That I would purposely give up and not give a care in the world. I had hit my melting point and accepted the ridiculous idea that death was inevitable and that I would not try to fight what was already set in motion.

I don’t know when I snapped to reality. I don’t know if it was the fact that I saw myself pushing myself away from the people I loved but I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t ready to let go. I never did want to let go to be honest, I just sort of stopped caring. That’s the thing about caring when you stop caring for yourself you realize who truly cares. The love and the care that both Peter, my friends, and family showed were enough to slap me back to what was important. Surviving.

I found a clinic finally. An organization that will help me out with the expensive lifestyle I must maintain now in order to be alright. I found a doctor who saw me after waiting so long and who finally prescribed me the medicine I needed to be able to breathe right. Turns out I had a fungal infection in my lungs.

I immediately started taking the medicine that would help me get rid of all the junk in me and before I knew it I was breathing fresh air again. I have my next appointment next month.  A follow up to see how things are going but so far I feel great.

Today I found out the state approved my request for assistance and will be able to pick up my HIV prescriptions tomorrow.

It’s been rough, partially I think it’s my fault for being so careless and for being well…being me. That’s the Scorpio in me- stubborn, impatient and aggressive. I know things aren’t going to be easy and I can’t let things get bigger than what they really are. I need to learn that even though I am trying to lead a normal life there are factors I can’t ignore and must always keep in mind.

Things for now will continue to be complicated. Maybe with time things will get easier but for now I must learn not to be so compliqueé.


the affects of affection


I was finally able to get my medicine.

One less thing I don’t need to worry about. At least not for the next six months because I have been approved for a year’s worth of medicine and have received my first six month supply. I am relieved beyond belief and so thankful that it all worked out in the end.

The odyssey was not simple it was a huge struggle but Peter and I somehow made it work. He drove me to and from my appointments throughout the month hoping every day that that would be the day that things would be resolved and I would receive the good news. I had to fill out multiple paper work, apply for medical assistance and hope that it would all pay off in the end. He has become my pilar. The very strong, firm platform I stand on.  Without him I don’t know how things would have been. I might of given up after the first couple rejections (which I almost did) I probably would have had multiple breakdowns (more than the usual) and I probably would have not had the energy to carry on.

Our relationship has grown stronger in the past few weeks. We’ve moved in and took the big leap of faith in hopes that we would survive each other under the same roof.Living with him is a whole new experience. I am now seeing another side of him that I had never seen before. His secret self behavior is out and about and roaming the halls of my apartment- freely showing me his true colors. I fall for him more and more as time goes by. His flaws, his virtues, his abilities surface each day showing me another side of the Peter I didn’t know I knew.

Living with a significant other is quite the task.You learn. You grown. You love. And you fuck. That’s the thing about living with each other our sex appetite seems to devour every inch of our being. Begging furiously for more even after it’s been fed. I can’t keep my hands off of him. They magnetically reach out for him. His skin is my favorite playground and I can not seem to control myself. He touches me and immediately I can feel the adrenaline rush through my body like a sweet sugary delight.  It all sounds great. Blissful really. But there is a problem.

We have recently been having sex without Condoms.

In any other circumstance I guess it wouldn’t be such a big deal but we all know that the circumstances of my life are far from that. I know it sounds irresponsible and it is but I can’t explain why it happened.

Actually I guess I can.

At first we were using condoms, buying them from our local pharmacy and using them in order to be safe but then one night unexpectedly we found ourselves without any and with a lot of desire. I was hesitant so much so that I stopped and told him that I couldn’t. That we would have to wait till the morning when the pharmacy opened. He was upset but he understood that it was all for his well being.

It happened again a few weeks back, this time though we did have them available but he insisted to proceed without any protection. Again I rejected him.

And then it happened. The selfish part of me took over and I allowed him to enter without any restrictions.

I know, I know, it sounds bad. Believe me I hated myself after that first time. I sat in bed afterwards contemplating whether to cry or to shoot myself for doing such a thing. How could’ve I allowed it? How is that love?

He assured me all was fine. He tried to calm me down but the thought of him becoming infected even after that one time haunted me for the rest of the week.

I went online and searched how high of a risk it was for him to contract the disease after that one time and found out that it was very likely- especially if my viral count is pretty high. Last time I checked my viral count had dropped but not enough to where I was considered undetectable. I read comments from other users who were in a similar situation and I found some assurance in a couple of them that made it easier to sleep at night.

Again the desired hit and again the desire was stronger than my will and I allowed him to enter a battle zone that was sure to kill eventually. This time I told him that he needed to get tested that this was not a game of hit or miss and that we both needed to be responsible. The last thing I want is to be the reason his life is changed  in such a drastic manner. I researched again and found some information on the Prep pill. A pill that has recently hit the market that could prevent infections on those who use it. This could be the solution but it would still not solve the problem if he were in fact already infected. With all the information I decided to bring it up to him in order for him to explore his options. We didn’t really come to an agreement but I plan on bringing it up on my next doctor’s visit.

Relationships are hard but being in a relationship with someone with HIV is even harder.

All I can do now is pray that he is clean that the actions of yesterday will not affect his tomorrow and that our affection is strong enough to withhold whatever the outcome is. 

the good fight



I haven’t been taking my pills.

I haven’t for over a week now.

To say that my actions are irresponsible is an understatement. Let me be clear though and say that this is not some rebellious attitude I’ve suddenly acquired or some alternative motive to go against what could potentially elongate my life but instead just “simple” complications.

At first it didn’t seem so complicated. Just a missed call.

My doctor called and left a voicemail informing me that the two pill regimen I was on was somehow not working for me. The pink pill and blue pill did not live up to my red blood cells fury and lost the battle of attempt.

Initially I became hysterical and cursed myself for missing such an important call. I had so many questions and the “what if’s” in my head began to knock on doors in my brain I didn’t know it had. Frustration took over and I felt like the three month routine I had so intensely disciplined myself to carry on was just another waste of time .

I panicked thinking that this was it. That it was over. That there would be nothing left for me to do but wait for AIDS to take over my body and kill all cell hopes of life.  I called my mother in hopes that maybe she could restore those broken hope cells and comfort my frantic heart. She did.

Three days later I was back at my doctor’s office and planning a new pill regimen that could solve all that the twins could not in those last three months. Sure there was more to it- more pills to swallow and more alarm clocks set to certain times but it was the solution to what at the time seemed like an impossibility so I did not mind.

I was soon getting up before dawn and making my way half asleep to my desk where my laptop sits and accompanies the ten little pills that now rule my life. Though it was easy there were times I hated it. Especially when I was warm and comfortable under my covers and the temperature outside was not or when I knew I had an early morning the next day and tried to squeeze in any extra minute of shut eye- but for the most part the routine came easy. Second nature. Not bad.

Things began to change the night I decided to go out and meet some friends up at a local patio bar without a sweater on. I knew better than to be out with nothing but a t-shirt on when the temperature outside required at least two extra layers of warmth on your skin but I wanted to see them so bad. I wanted to spend time with my best friend and her boyfriend. I wanted her to see me with my boyfriend and have her tell me how much she liked him or how cute we were together. I know my reasons sound irrational maybe even juvenile but lately all I want to do is just be around the people that make life seem just a little bit normal.

I woke up the next day with a sore throat and a minor cough. That cough soon became the wall between  a decent intake of air and suffocation.

I stayed that way for about two weeks with the cough being constant and with little signs of improvement. When my next doctors visited rolled around and I layed in the chemo room with Peter by my side ready for my session to start, I was hit with yet another curve ball.

The nurse stood next to my bed with a stack of papers in her hand.  I knew something was wrong. I was terribly right. She informed me that I would not be receiving chemotherapy that day and that they had found that my T- cells were too low and insufficient for me to go through my regular treatment.

She assured me all was fine and that once my cough was gone and I was back to my normal self they would go through with my usual session. My instinct was to panic immediately. I felt defeated again…like no matter what I did or took nothing seemed to matter. Defeated and with the papers the nurse had brought in with her in my hand I walked out of the clinic and made my way home.

A week after that I called in my medicine for a refill. Turns out there were some issues with my insurance and that too had to be put on hold. I had to reapply and fill out more paperwork in order to figure out what could be done to fix the issues ahead.

Each day that went by without any news of what would happen next my pill box became less and less heavy. Each time my alarm would go off announcing it was time to take my daily dose I worried if I had enough. I became so consumed by this that I began to wonder if it would be ideal for me to just skip a dose so I could make the pills last.  And then finally after a week or so of trying to hold off it came down to zero pills and no more daily alarms.

So here I am, almost two weeks without any medicine and a day away from seeing my doctor to figure out what the next step is. I am without chemo treatment and without my defenses. I guess for those who don’t know why this is such a big deal or why this has me all in my feelings you should know that me missing just a couple of doses of my daily intake is crucial. My body, my blood, my cells could build resistance to such meds and outsmart the treatment. So much to the point where the virus becomes immune to what is suppose to be helping me battle the germs in my life. It is not just a pill or just your regular over the counter treatment- it is what could potentially give me Ten extra years of life- more if it wants to be generous. To know that my body (my cells to be more precise) are trying to fight the germs that contaminate my blood and are now found without any weapons frightens me. How can you go to battle without any armor to protect you from harm? How do you fight your own body and convince it to just hold on? Just to give you a few more days to figure shit out without letting itself give in?
I keep telling myself everything will be alright. I keep thinking it’s just part of the ongoing fight. I keep reminding my body- talking to it if you will- and keep telling it to not let the germs multiply and let me be the only Germ in my life.

the sick truth


I always thought that it would all happen very differently. I guess I based myself on cheesy movie scenarios or things i’ve seen here and there on t.v.

I never expected it to happen the way it did. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe a cordial handshake between the two or maybe a moment where EJ congratulates me and wishes me the best. But the reality of it is break-up’s usually don’t end that way. Diplomacy is out the window and the worse in people seems to surface.

Monday I had received more of EJ’s mail and decided it was time he knew that I was still receiving his things and no longer cared to. He promised to change his address and come pick up his mail as soon as it was possible. The week followed and he made no effort or showed any concerned for his things until Friday night when a received a text message that he would stop by the next day for his mail.

I was picking up Peter from his house- we had plan on spending the whole weekend together before I left Tuesday for my next doctor’s appointment. It was no big deal really, I had no intention on them bumping into each other or even meeting. Total and complete opposite.

The thought of EJ meeting Peter let alone finding out that I had started a new relationship terrified me to no end. Judging from recent actions and hidden secrets that t had surfaced after our break up all I could think about him was nothing but negative.I barely recognize the man that once use to fill my heart with warmth and safety with this new man that only seemed to generate fear and uncertainty to my soul.

Saturday morning was great. I laid in bed cuddled under Peter’s arms and let him introduce me to videos that he thought I would like. Being with him was simple. Easy.We spent the rest of the day together, his arm wrapped around me, my leg on top of his switching positions and stopping to re-introduce our lips to each other. It was perfect. It was what I craved for so long and now it was wrapped around me like a beautiful script of tattoos.  I had never felt so right.

By nightfall we decided it was time to get up, get something to eat, shower and meet some friends up for some drinks.We decided picking up a pizza would be easiest since we had to meet up with everyone by nine and it was already past seven.  The timing was wrong. The idea was wrong. As we pulled up to my driveway and put the car on park a green suburban parked behind us. My heart sank as Peter who had gotten off the car first turned and asked: “Who is that?” I could feel fear again, like that day back in the hospital after my diagnosis, creep itself on my body like a rude awakening waiting to destroy. “EJ” I responded softly trying to calm him down but in reality I was trying to calm myself down. He didn’t say much just turned and headed towards the front door. I guess because he knew that this was bound to happen but I did sense that it was not the best scenario in his plans.

I ran behind Peter trying to reach the mail fast enough to end the awkward situation before it became an actual situation. I went back out half hoping he had mistaken Peter for someone else- possibly my dad?

“This is what came in for you.” I said as he rolled down his window and took the envelopes from my hand. He didn’t respond initially instead he looked past me as if I wasn’t even there.

“Who was that?” he finally blurred out his chin motioning to the front door.

“Who?” I replied stupidly trying to buy some time so I could somehow come up with an excuse. He knew what I was doing and gave me a look that told me he knew the answer that I so feared  and didn’t want to say outloud.

“Is that your boyfriend?”

I hesitated and my brain could not work fast enough for a clever story so I simply gave him a nod. He shook his head in reply as if he too could not find the words to such situation. “Okay, well there’s your mail…”

“Thank you.”

By nine we were dressed and meeting my friends up at a local bar. I told them what had happened and they all thought it was great. So much that they cheered at the thought of EJ finally seeing me not only with someone new but with Peter of all people, the one guy he tried to seduced while still with me. I wasn’t as thrilled in fact they were missing my point. I was full of fear. Fear that now that he knew I was no longer single and the rage that seemed to perspiration from his body would come back to me in the most negative way. I feared the truth. The unspeakable truth between Peter and I that I had no intention on telling anytime soon but that EJ knew. The sick truth of my past and the consequences before me. That’s why I hesitated. That’s why I’m scared of him. I should have never told him but it was my moral duty to inform him so he could also be safe and now my good deed was turning into my own torment. “Why did you hesitate?” one of my friends asked. I paused, drink halfway to my lips. I shrugged, unsure of the response they were all looking for from me.

Back home as we got ready for bed, pulling the covers and adjusting the pillows when I noticed something was wrong. “Why did you hesitate?” Peter asked. I gulped sure that there was no way around the question. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, your friends are right. Why did you hesitate? Why not just tell him that yes you are with me?” I could tell there was a deeper emotion hidden behind his words and I knew then that the casual encounter had finally hit its purpose. “I don’t know. I guess because it took me by surprise.” I tried to avoid his look knowing very well that if I saw him he would notice the lie in me. Not satisfied with my response he just nodded and I knew that it was not enough. So I said, “ I guess because I don’t want any drama.”

“Why do you need to keep him happy?” he asked irritated at my responses. I wanted to tell him the truth, the sick truth of why he had power over me. I wanted to believe that he would understand and that he would stay even after he knew it all but I knew that this could destroy the little relationship we had just begun. I knew that at some point in time I would be faced with the idea of him knowing my status but I didn’t expect it to be so soon and so sudden. Not this way.

We began to raise our voices, began to argue and put up walls and barriers around us that made it difficult for us to see eye to eye. So much so that he decided to pack the clothes he had brought for the weekend and end our time together sooner than anticipated. The thought of him leaving, questioning me and not giving me the chance to explain the reasons behind my actions drove me insane. I clinged to him as he packed his things and began to feel as if the little world we had just began to build was now crumbling down.

I don’t know if it was the alcohol or if it was fear- maybe a combination of both- but before he could take another step I found the words that made him drop his bag on the floor and listen.

“I don’t have cancer” I began to explain. “ I mean I do… but there is a reason why I have cancer.”

“ What do you mean?”

“I don’t only have cancer but something else too…” I could feel the words on the tip of my tongue. I could taste a bitter sour flavor that made it difficult to swallow and that made me panic cry. I sobbed uncontrollably and braced myself for the sick truth to kill the future I had hoped would be mine this year.

I think he sensed that whatever had me in such a state was far more serious than he had expected and he tried to calm me down so I could speak. “It’s okay German. What is it?”

I paused. Held my breath. Felt my heart thumped against my chest and closed my eyes as the words spilled from my lips.

“I have HIV. I’m HIV positive.”

The air around us stood still. Heavy. Almost like a thick fog that had settled around the room and made my lungs work harder to survive. I waited for him to pull his hand from underneath mine, push me to the side and grab his bag and run for the door. But he didn’t. He stayed. He held me. He wrapped his warm arms around me and the fog around us exploded into oblivion. I could breathe again and I tried to catch my breath as he tried to comfort my broken soul.

“I am not leaving German, I am not going anywhere…”

When the tears stopped and the air was easy around us to breathe I began to explain to him everything that had happened before his arrival. I didn’t tell him everything. It would take hours and hours to explain but I told him the major points of my journey that led me to where I am today. He listened carefully. He didn’t say much. He held me and kissed my forehead. He pulled the covers and pulled me closer to him.

I woke up before him the next day.

I laid still wrapped around his body and his irregular heartbeat loudly on my ear. I stared at him as he slept wondering if what he had said the night before was true or if it was just some polite way of dealing with such a situation.

I didn’t want to question him but the questions in me were still there circling around my brain like an endless wave that drowned my sanity and couldn’t let me sleep.

“Are you sure you want to be in this roller coaster of a life with–”

“I told you. I’m not going anywhere.”

I asked as soon as his eyes opened. I need an assurance. I needed to hear it again because it is hard to believe (at least for me) that he would stay even after the truth surfaced. I guess my insecurities take over but can you blame me?

He pulled me closer to his body. His skin warm and comforting. I took a deep breath and tried to let all fear go. He knows and that is all that matters. He knows the sick truth and nothing anyone else says or does to me will matter because the one person who’s reaction I cared about the most is now part of the journey that is my life. My life with this disease full of germs and that makes me stronger.

ride with me


He picked me up Six o’clock sharp.

I was extremely nervous to say the least, and found myself debating weather I was dressed well enough for whatever he had prepared for us. I wanted to look effortlessly good. I wanted him to see me and think immediately that he had made the right choice by taking me out on a date.

He smiled sweetly as he got out of his car and circled around it until he could wrapped his hands around me. “It’s good to see you” He said pulling away from my speeding heart. I swear he could hear my irregular heartbeat. “It’s cold…” I replied nervously trying to figure out what I should say in a situation that for many, many, many years I hadn’t been in. I had a jacket folded between my arms which made the comment totally absurd.

I think he sensed that I was nervous and was in unfamiliar territory and so he just gave me that mischievous smile that seems to stay in my memory even long after he is gone.

He leaned in to open the car door for me and I entered his car half wishing he hadn’t done that because immediately I found myself drawn to him more than I had expected. We drove away from my comfort zone and into a night with no expectations but with very high hopes.

We pulled up to his cousin’s house ( I know not a very typical first date but nothing about us is typical) and asked if I was nervous.  I assured him I wasn’t but my insides were screeching. I could feel the motor of my heart speeding- causing me to sweat despite the low temperature outside. He lead the way as I followed behind him telling myself that it was all going to be alright. To smile. To enjoy the moment and be myself.

A crowd gathered inside the living room all turning at once when the door flew open. I could feel their eyes fly from Peter to me like racing cars all coming to a sudden jolt when they saw who he was with. We had hit the brakes and there was no turning back.

Two hours later I had met his cousins, his aunts, uncles and siblings. I had also had a quick conversation with his mother and decided that it wasn’t that bad. It was like being at my family gatherings with everyone being loud and playful.

By the end of the night as people started to leave and only close family stayed behind I found out that this was not only new for me but for them too. According to them this was a first. Peter was also stepping in unfamiliar territory by bringing a guy over. They questioned us asking me how long we’d been dating and I uncomfortably replied that this was our first date. It was awkward of course but they all seemed to understand though the question remained in my mind- why had he brought me here?

The days that followed were great.

We saw each other again. We stayed in touch and made plans to meet the following weekend. I began to wonder if this was a route I wanted to take but decided that this was a situation that I did not want to sabotage. Not this time, not today, and not anytime soon. On our second date I asked him why he had taken me to his families that first night and he replied that he was curious to see how I would interact around such an uncomfortable situation. Given the fact that we’ve know each other for about eight years I figured it was “normal” for him to question that so I just nodded in agreement.  It all seemed fast, like racing cars trying to get to the finish line but I knew that somehow it was all right. I don’t know if this is normal: meeting the family before you even establish anything between each other? But again nothing about this feels normal. It all feels fucking great.

On our fourth date I realized what it was that was wrong.

Of course, life wouldn’t be life if there was no catch to it all and apparently life has hell of a sense of humor. Turns out that I was not the only one who found Peter attractive. Someone also did too- EJ.

Yes, my ex-boyfriend that left me for a much younger sexually active Nineteen year old. Peter explained that EJ had messaged him after our break up. That he had tried to meet up with him despite the fact that he was already with someone else and had recently broken up with me. Nothing happened and Peter was not interested but actions and messages were left behind like debris from a wreck.

It was difficult for me to hear but I thanked him for his honesty, though to tell you the truth nothing surprises me anymore and knowing this piece of information only validated that EJ and I were better left apart.

A couple dates later and with all past relationships out of the way he decided it was time to introduce me at his next family gathering as his boyfriend. It came to me as a huge surprise like everything else he does. I felt a car crashing on my heart as the words spilled from his lips like an uncontrollable drunk driver.

“Tia (aunt) this is my boyfriend German…” He would say as we made our way through the crowd. Again I found myself unable to stop the situation and decided to stop questioning and just enjoy the sweet ride.

Once back in the car he turned on to the highway and we made our way through the city he asked what he had already established to be true before properly asking me. “German, will you be my boyfriend?” his hand wrapped around mine with the rose tattoo that I love on his hand sweetly facing me.

I looked up at the road ahead shining bright by the headlights and decided that denying him would be like denying myself the privilege to live. Regardless of my situation of what could happen once he knows the truth I couldn’t deny myself the satisfaction of having someone there holding my hand in this bumpy ride we call life.

“Yes.” I turned back to look at him and he just gave me that mischievous smile that seems to stay in my memory even long after he is gone…

honey coated envy

screenshot_20170127-103328There is this couple that I envy.

It might sound horrible to envy someone, but believe me if you saw them, you would probably envy them too.

I first saw them the first time I walked into the clinic where I receive Chemotherapy. They sat next to each other in one of the many couches in the waiting room. They sat so close together they looked like Siamese twins. Their hands intertwined intricately like a massive puzzle hard to figure out. They watched me closely as I made my way towards them and sat on the couch near them. I gave them a faint smile unsure if a smile was allowed in a place where everyone’s circumstances seemed dull and blue.

I watched them until one was called into a room where people came out with band-aids on their arms or with little cups that they took to the bathroom. I wanted to ask them that first day what was wrong with them, though the assumption was there and it was no secret. I wanted to ask away and fill my head with their story but was too scared to ask anything.

I watched them discreetly as the one guy came out with his jacket off and holding his arm as the other one followed behind and they made their way out the door. I envied them then, as the guy who had patiently been waiting on the couch put his arm around the other and pulled him close to his body and they became a whole. How wonderful it must be to have that kind of support. No, not the kind that comes with family or friends, but the kind of support that is drenched in a kind of honey that is too sweet for the heart and yet so healthy for the soul.

I’ve never been to my Chemotherapy sessions alone. In fact since my diagnosis I haven’t  for one second been alone. I have the kind of support most people wish they could find in a world so scares of such a feeling. I’ve always had a family member or a friend next to me as the sharp IV is introduced into my vein. I am one of the lucky few that gets to brag about the fact that someone is always there to hold my hand when things seem difficult. Yet the feeling of wanting someone besides a relative near me, comforting that part of my soul that seems broken, arises every time I think of that couple. I guess it comes to the surface each time I imagine myself being them and having EJ be that patient boyfriend waiting for me on one of those couches as I come back to him punctured and tired.

I saw them again on my next visit as they checked in and made their way into the waiting room where I greeted them with a distinct smile this time. They sat down on their usual spot and held each other until it was time for the IV to do what it does best. Again the urge to ask took over me and I found myself opening my mouth almost sure that I could speak the words but unable to make a sound. There he was in my head, EJ, sitting next to me one arm wrapped around me like an envious snake warmly keeping me captive from the cruel cold world. His sweet voice assuring me that everything will soon be alright and that he would be sitting there when I came out ready to offer a tight grip around my heart. But it wasn’t EJ. Instead it was the other guy waiting for his boyfriend. Reality check.

The more I imagined EJ the angrier I became. Why did he have to leave? Why did he have to leave at the precise moment that I needed him the most? Why was I not that couple, that guy, who had not only a second chance at life but the chance to love someone who genuinely loved him back with no restrictions? I read my thoughts and I can’t help but sound ungrateful. I hate myself for wanting more and not being able to shake such jealousy off when in fact I should savor the fact that I have so many people to turn to.

But can you blame me? Can you truly blame me for wanting who I thought was the love of my life right there next to me through the good and the bad?

I keep telling myself that the important thing is survival. Fuck everything else. Fuck having an EJ or Max or a Peter in the waiting room. What matters is that I am here trying to repair the damage done. Maybe my heart will take longer to heal. Longer to repair and be coated in honey, but what matters is that I put my heart into everything I do, everything else will fall into place soon after that.

drip drop

screenshot_20170111-213954I freaked.

I mean, seriously freaked. So much that I cried like a little baby on the phone as I tried to explain myself to my best friend through an uncontrollable sob what it was that had me in such a state.

It was Peter. Peter, peter, pumpkin eater.

He hadn’t bitten off my heart yet but I felt a sharp pain run through me as the countdown to our date neared an end.

I had been fine all day. I hadn’t even paid much thought to the fact that in a couple of hours I would be going on a date with a guy that use to only pop up on my phone screen on late drunken nights and who now was asking to meet in unfamiliar territory. He asked what movie I wanted to see and he encouraged me to pick a showing that would work best for me. He teased me and I enjoyed the feeling. His text were flirtatious and I began to develop a school crush. Everything seemed perfect. The idea of a very good date was in the air and then suddenly…

Anxiety hit.

I suddenly found myself trying to catch my breath as my heart began to race and my mind began to spin. Thoughts flooded my brain-one after the other, drip droping on my mind like a broken faucet that leaked nothing but negative things but especially one in particular.

What will happen when he finds out the truth? The sick truth. When do I tell him the truth? Am I supposed to tell him after the movie? While the movie is playing? In between pop-corn breaks? Is there a right time? Am I supposed to tell him at all? What if I never do, would that be wrong?

I couldn’t sit still suddenly as it all poured in like a cold shower down my spine warning me that a storm was near.

Dating seemed logical something natural and what I wanted, but reality seemed to have another forecast.

Let’s be realistic for a moment. Be honest. Be blunt.

When you start dating someone, do you really tell them all up front or do you keep what is fragile to yourself until the “Careful: fragile” boxes are ordered? There are things one is allowed to keep to oneself. We all have secrets. But is this a secret worthy of keeping until further notice or is it the warning notice that should be advertised before a relationship purchase?

Not satisfied with what my best friend had to say I called my niece Katrina. She had been with me in the hospital that horrible week. She had seen me since day one and knew every detail of my story. I trusted her and I knew she would tell me more than I wanted to hear.

“You are your worst enemy.” She said. “You are sabotaging something that hasn’t even started. Live. Live like nothing’s the matter because nothing is the matter.” She was right as usual. There was no reason to fear the unknown. I like the unknown. I am a Scorpio and mystery is suppose to be part of my character. I’m not suppose to run away from the unexpected I am the unexpected.

I took a deep breath and tried to close the runny thoughts that seemed to leak from my brain. I told myself that if he was worth it he would understand. He didn’t need to know right away because I didn’t know right away what it was I wanted from him. All I know is that he kisses good and that he makes me want more. More of him. More than I expected and for now the unknown seemed to offer more than I could give. I let go of all insecurities then, of all the negative that seemed to overpower the carefree boy I use to be. Leap before you look and never look down. Risk it all without risking too much and learn that this is just the beginning of a new life.

I gave up and fell asleep to the sound of the rain on my rooftop. The drip drop hypnotizing me to a deep sleep. The leaking had stopped and my flooded brain began to drain.

“I’m sorry German, but I am going to have to take a rain-check. My family is coming in from out of town today and I won’t be able to go to the movies. Can we reschedule?”

His text message was sort of a relief. It was also a bit disappointing but mostly sort of embarrassing after all the emotional spill that had been caused by it. Somehow though I confess I preferred the outcome of it all. Sure there was no date, no reason to worry anymore but I had overcome my fear someway. Maybe there won’t ever be a date. Maybe he never really meant to keep his word or never really intended to go beyond a friendly outing. Maybe it was one of those things you say that you never intend to keep, who knows. The thing is whether it was real or not, or whether that date ever does happen, the important thing is that after it all I somehow found peace in the eye of the storm.

My brain suddenly seemed cleared of all thoughts and I felt as though I had discovered a new part of me that was hidden beneath the turbulent waters of my soul.

I can’t live in fear. I can’t run away from the rain. If thunder hits, lightning will follow. It all has a cause and effect and the causes of my situation are a repercussions of a storm I created. So yes there might not be sunshine today or a beautiful rainbow in sight, but for now there is gentle rain. Beautiful drip dropping rain that seems to wash away all that use to be me and bringing into sight something greater yet to be fulfilled.

If he asks again, I will say yes without hesitation. I will not hold back.

A week later, he messaged me again.

“Do you want to go to a party with me?”

peter, peter, pumpkin carriage eater

screenshot_20161223-014622I have a date tomorrow.To say that I’m nervous is truly an understatement.I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be because I know the guy. Actually I’ve known him for quite some time now.

His name is Peter and once upon a time on one of my drunken nights we decided to meet after his Senior Prom.

He is a year or two younger than I and I had just happened to end my Max “urban” fairy tale. I was heartbroken and full of rage, not to mention full of bad decisions infuse by Vodka. I didn’t care much about anything back then. Didn’t see Peter as a possible “new beginning”, in fact I don’t think either of us ever viewed each other as much more than a simple fuck. He was young and barely exploring his sexuality, I was single and eager to subside the pain with anyone and anything that came my way. A mutual friend introduced us. She thought we would be a great match, where she got that idea, I have no fucking clue. We were good in bed that’s for sure but I couldn’t see us past the bed sheets.

We met on and off for the next couple of years after that one night at social events or someone’s house party. We fucked here and there and he always left the morning after before we could sober up and truly ask ourselves who we were underneath the covers. He lingered there even after I started my committed relationship with EJ (Ernesto) and began to play the part of a house-husband who was settling down for a less “wild” lifestyle. He became then just an acquaintance who I’d share a steamy past with and who I greeted friendly with a head nod when we bumped into each other at bars.

I lost track of him after a while, only seeing him on social media or in a social status other people posted of him. He remained distant until recently one random night we both found ourselves messaging back in forth through Facebook. I had been drinking- not a surprise- and he had just left the bar with some of his friends. One thing led to the other and before I knew it I was meeting him outside my house and showing him the way to my front door.

It was as though time had rushed Nine years back and we were those two boys meeting in the middle of the night for the first time after Prom again. He hadn’t changed much except his hair and style, though something in his persona had definitely become something else. He stared at me carefully… probably thinking the same thing. His smile brought back memories of that night especially of his mischievous grin as he leaned down for a kiss.

We gushed about how long it had been and how weird it was to see each other again. I handed him a beer and sat next to him on my couch trying to figure out what the hell I was doing bringing back old chapters of my life.

He knew I’d been sick recently. He knew only what I had told most people- that I had been diagnosed with Cancer and that I was in Chemo treatment for it. I know it’s not the truth but it’s not a lie either. KS (Kaposi’s Sarcoma) is a cancer- result of the HIV of course, but a cancer nonetheless. I figured that since everyone seemed to be aware of my hospital stay questions would arise and I had no intentions (or courage) to tell the truth. Not yet at least, not today. I decided it would be best if only certain people knew my real results while others only the partial truth. He was part of that “other” group.

After a few beers and long conversation of what we’d been doing the last couple of years he decided it be best if he stayed the night. I didn’t protest in fact I was eager to spend the night with someone other than my dog. He laid on my usual side of the bed as I made myself comfortable on EJ’s old side. I know it sounds weird but the thought of someone else sleeping on the side of the man that for years served as my body pillow seemed wrong still.

The room was dark but I could still see his eyes and his smile as he leaned in towards me and gave me his familiar kiss. He smiled at me as he pulled back, staring at me like he did that Senior night. My hands became my sight and I explored his skin like a map trying to figure out a way back home. His lips fed me his well known taste and I found myself traveling back in time and pretending that nothing between us had changed. I was not HIV positive and he was not the new and improved Peter but his old inexperienced self barely out the closet.

We didn’t do it. Partially because I didn’t want it to be just another fuck to add to our unconventional story but also because the thought of me having sex with someone who is unaware of my status seemed completely out of line. So after a steamy long session of making out we fell asleep and brought ourselves back to 2016.

I didn’t seem him after that though we promised ourselves we would stay in touch. It didn’t seem like a big surprise nor did I care much about it. I was use to this coming and going routine. We’d been doing this since the day we met. He would spend hours on my lips and then, just like that he would be gone only to return on random occasions. You would agree that it came as a shock that a few weeks later he would ask me out.

I don’t know if it’s an official date, I can only assume it is. He didn’t use the typical “would you like to go on a date with me” line and there was no rose or any romantic music playing in the background. Instead, his message popped up on my phone like a sweet surprise. “So when can we hang out? Like maybe stay in and watch movies? Just hang out and be lazy together?”

Initially I didn’t associate his request with anything else but a friendly approach to what there already is between us. It didn’t seem out of character until he said: “okay well let’s make it a date”

Again I saw his new persona come through. Though years had passed and he still remained that inexperienced boy in my head I knew that he no longer was that boy out of high school who I passionately kissed in a crowded dance floor at our local gay bar. He had grown up at some point and learned that bonding with someone over a movie is a lot more intimate than bonding with them in bed. I’m not saying that he is my next prince charming because I don’t even know if I want a prince charming.

I can’t think past today. I can’t think past the pages that are marked with my pill schedule. I don’t know how many more chapters are left and I don’t want to get involved with someone who hasn’t read the prologue to my story.

Fairy tales don’t end with “ ….And they lived happily for five years until one died of AIDS” They are not suppose to happen to people like me. They’re not suppose to happen like that.I don’t want to deny myself the idea of romance but I have to be realistic. I can’t let his charm enchant me and pretend like I am like him- that I can give him everything he wants. I am limited and should treat this with caution. I don’t want to fuck up but I don’t want to tell him the truth either. I’m scared of his reaction. I’m scared that he will no longer see me as the apple of temptation but as the rotting poison apple in Snow White.
Fairy tales all have the same happy ending and though it would be nice to end my book with a kiss in a pumpkin carriage. I think I prefer a story with an alternative ending. Maybe a Shakespeare ending with a romantic tragic end. Or maybe a Stephen King ending, twisted and unexpected. I don’t know what I want yet but maybe tomorrow after our date things will be more readable. I guess for now it’s safe to say that I am eager to see where this chapter will lead. Maybe it won’t end, maybe it will leave readers wanting more. Maybe it will leave off in a semicolon; patiently waiting for the next page.

dreaming with stars

I woke up not really wanting to wake up.

I am ashamed to say that today I let the worse get the best of me.

My alarm went off at exactly 6:00 am like it does every morning for my pill ritual. One pink one, one blue one and a huge glass of water.

I usually shower after that, clean up and have some coffee.

I check my e-mail account, my social media, and start my day. That has been my life for the last few months. This new carefree schedule might not seem as exciting to some who lead a “normal” life but for someone who is currently on leave of absences from work and is trying to adjust to a new way of living I’d say it’s actually pretty productive.

Today the desire to get up and do all those things stayed behind me somewhere wrapped and tangled in my sheets.

I had planned a morning run but that didn’t happen.

I had planned for a cup of green tea instead of coffee, but also that didn’t happen.

The only thing that actually took place was…well…nothing

I slept the day away, barely waking up for meals and going back to sleep. For whatever reason and no logical explanation I dreamed with celebrities all throughout the day. Interestingly enough they all kept telling me the same thing- that it was all going to be okay.

First I shared my slumber with Jennifer Aniston, Rachel Green from “Friends” (she was always my favorite) She ran up to me while I stood in front of a tall mirror washing away what seemed to be runny mascara off my face.

She held my hands tightly assuring me that we would fight this together and that everything was going to be alright.

I woke up from that friendly Jen dream and took a short meal break, drank a glass of water and quickly snoozed away with my next celebrity. Lady Gaga.

We were best friends and she was powerful. I mean she is, but in my dream I was powerful with her. We walked side by side like two crazy bitches in crazy outfits.

Helicopters above us flashed their cameras as we made our way through a fabulous celebrity filled pool party.

She loved me and I loved her, I do actually but I loved her more in my dream somehow. She had my back and I had hers.

Suddenly Rihanna comes out of nowhere half naked, as expected and starts singing her hit “Phresh out the runway” and in the commotion of it all Gaga disappears. She leaves me there in a sea of desperate little monsters pushing away as they all search for her. I panic but manage to stand still, viciously searching for her with my eyes but she has abandoned us. Abandon me.

The helicopters are touching ground now and a mob of camera flashes invade my eyes.

I wake up from this dream at about 4 something pm. Dramatically covered in sweat.

From this point on I can’t truly understand what made me feel so lonely. I don’t know if it was the fact that Gaga had left me there without reason or if it was the disappointing feeling of sleeping the day away after I had promised myself I would do all sorts of things today. Maybe it was a mixture of both.

I laid there motionless for about an hour, listening to cars go by and my clock tic away. It was begin to feel cold outside and the thought of Christmas began to invade my thoughts.

No current job means no money. No money means no Christmas presents. No christmas presents means feeling guilty for not being able to provide such things to those who matter. Which brings us to depression overload.

I wanted to cry. Not sure the reason behind this but I suspect it was everything (gaga and jen included). It was the impotence of not being able to have a normal job and unable to provide much this holiday season that began to potently darken my positive spirit. Of all seasons I guess this one is most important due to the fact that in my mind this could be the last Christmas with those I love. I know it’s irrational and that people don’t just die from this the year they find out. I know there are methods, medicines, and life expectancy is great but can you blame me for wanting to savor and cherish every moment of my life as it were my last?

I called my mother told her I wasn’t feeling like myself.

She immediately came into my room where she found me laying face down with one arm dangling towards the floor. She rubbed my back as she sat there in silence not really sure of what to say. Maybe she had a lot to say but thought silence would say more than she ever could. All I know is that having her there, her warmth and her sole presence made me feel at ease.

“It’s going to be okay…” she finally said. “You are lucky. You are loved. There is no reason why you should feel this way. Do you hear me? You are lucky and blessed.”

She is right. I am lucky. I am blessed.

She laid her head on my back and we stayed there for some time. I could have easily fallen asleep that way, with her comforting me, but I decided I had slept enough and brought myself up from the hole I had dropped myself in.

I gave her a faint smile and told her I was going to be alright. She looked at me, her eyes sparkling in the dark like two beautiful bright stars. Again, I knew that this was just part of the package. I guess I can’t expect every day to be easy and cheerful. I’m sure I will have plenty of days where the simplest task will seem impossible. It’s good to know though that when that does happen, I know I have plenty of  beautiful sparkling stars that can lift me up from the darkness… and none of them are celebrities.

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?