Him: I’m really scared.
Me: You look good. I hate to see you limping around like that. How’s A.?
Him: He’s getting better. He says he’s healing pretty fast, which is putting him in a good mood.
Me: He’s not angry with me, is he?
Me: I’m glad you two are okay. Sideswiped, huh?
Him: Yeah. We were splayed all across the intersection, and the van that hit us on our scooter drove away. It was a hit and run.
Me: I hate seeing you limp around like that.
Him: My skin is dry and these huge scabs itch a lot.
Me: Aw. Pumpkin… I’m glad you tested negative. Why are my results taking so long?
Him: They must’ve all went to lunch.
Me: They drew our blood at the same time. Why are my results taking 30 minutes longer?
Him: I’m serious. They went to lunch.
Me: They’re waiting for a counselor. If you have HIV they have to get you counseling on the spot. That’s why my results are taking so long. I’m positive. I knew this wasn’t just a cold. I had this sinus infection for a month. It’s HIV.
Him: Stop that. You don’t know that. You don’t know anything of the sort. Just wait.
Me: My pulse.
Him: What’s going on?
Me: It’s like I’m at the gym or swimming. My pulse is racing. I hate this. I’m freaking out. Okay. It’s not the end of the world.
Him: Things just change. A little. Not even a lot. A little.
Me: Your sex life changes a lot.
Him: If you’re conscientious it does.
Me: I’m conscientious. Ugh. I hate this. I hate that it’s all Gay people here and that girl who looks like she’s just here with her Gay friend.
Him: It’s a health clinic in Chelsea.
Me: I hate having to do this every four months. I hate squriming for an hour and a half. Why don’t straight people have to do this?
Him: They just don’t.
Me: I had a rash last week that wouldn’t go away. I think it’s HIV. I’ve been totally run down. I don’t feel like myself the past few weeks.
Him: Stop it. You don’t know anything.
Me: I love you. You’re my friend and I love you.
Him: I love you too.
(I start hyperventilating)
Him: What’s the matter??
Me: I don’t care. I don’t care. If I have this disease I DON’T CARE. I’m never going to let straight people or even other Gay people make me feel ashamed about it. Never. If I have this disease it will make me more driven. More powerful. I won’t be ashamed of myself. I won’t.
Him: Okay. Good. Don’t.
Me: They can’t make me take shame that I won’t accept. I won’t be some victim. I refuse to be the subject of anyone’s pity. I refuse it. It won’t work on me.
Him: You need to calm down. This is what I do. I think about food.
Him: I think about snacks and what kind of food might be in this building.
Him: Yeah. I think about the phlebotomist and what kind of lunch she might have packed.
Me: Mine was stony. I bet she packed egg salad.
Him: Yeah. They’re stony. Mine had a boyfriend die three days ago in a motorcycle accident.
Me: Wow. She must have been a ghost.
Him: She said that she has to tell his parents. His parents are out of the country right now and can’t be contacted.
Me: Horrible. I was just thinking the other day how as life goes on and we get older, that we have worse and worse ‘jobs’ to do as people. Break the news of someone’s death, for instance.
Him: First your boyfriend dies, and then you have to tell his parents.
Me: That makes me want to cry.
Him: Me too.
Me: I just hope that people get more sensitive to each other as they get older.
Him: I think people are pretty sensitive.
Me: I do comedy.
Him: Right. Good luck with that.
Him: NUMBER SEVENTY THREE!!!
Me: That’s me. Here goes nothing. I love you, kiddo.
Him: I love you too.