Continued from part 5
I stop walking towards the door.
I knew what “positive” meant.
I also knew I’m in the bedroom with a guy I really like, and he just told me he was HIV positive. I knew it was happening, but I didn’t want to believe it was happening to me; I’ve heard about how hard it is to be in this kind of relationship. It’s just too hard.
Hard. But is it impossible? I really like Ahmad. Could I pull it off?
I turn around and see him sitting on the corner of the bed looking at the floor. I finally manage to put some words together: “You…you have AIDS…”
No answer. He’s still looking at the floor. I come closer and stand next to him.
He finally looks me in the eye.
Ahmad: “Yes. I’m HIV positive”
He says that in the same way a convicted felon would say: “Yes. I killed someone”
So I asked him: “Well, why didn’t you tell…”
Ahmad: “I wanted to. But I thought “hi, I’m Ahmad, I’m 26, was diagnosed with HIV 5 years ago” was a little too overwhelming for a first date”
“And the only date so far”, I add.
I sit down on the bed next to him. He goes back to looking on the floor.
Me: “So how did you get it?”
Ahmad: “Must have got infected when I was around 19. My mom was a wreck after dad died. I was taking care of her when I needed a parent to take care of ME, you know?”
I put my hand on his shoulders.
Ahmad: “I was juggling between my job, university, mom… I was sick of it. I never had time for myself. One night my cousin tells me to go out for some drinks. I was so excited… Finally, a night out, you know? He ends up taking me to this whorehouse and …the rest is history”.
Me: “I’m so sorry you had to go through that alone.”
Ahmad: “It’s okay, I got used to taking care of myself. I’m good. I’m taking my medication. I’m healthy right now.”
Me: “Does anyone know?”
Ahmad: “Just my doctor, and now you. Well, actually, there is someone else”.
Ahmad: “Your friend Maya”
I didn’t mention that Maya tried to tell me about him at the party.
Ahmad: “So, that’s why I frequently go to the gym… to build muscle mass. I also need all the nutrients I could get. That’s why I have a balanced diet. I have to remain healthy”
Everything was making sense. Everything was adding up.
Me: “So that’s why you didn’t kiss me at the end of our date…”
Ahmad: “Yeah, I didn’t wanna kiss you until I was clear with you about everything. Plus, what’s the point. I know how the story goes…”
Me: “How does our story go?”
Ahmad: “Walid, I like you. But I can never be with you. I’ve been down this road before. I tried dating HIV negative guys a long time ago, and it just didn’t work. They couldn’t handle it. It’s just too hard. When you’re dating me, you’re dating the disease. I can’t do that to you.”
Me: “There’s more to you than this, Ahmad”.
He moves away but I hold his hand.
Walid: “Would you just stop pushing me away? Let me decide what I can and can’t handle”
Ahmad: “Oh yeah?”
He takes my hand, grabs my index finger, and puts it on his lips. He moves my finger all around his lips and passionately kisses it with his eyes closed.
Then he looks at me and says: “Now you know the truth. Still wanna kiss me?”
Walid: “Ofcourse I wanna kiss you!”.
The perfect romantic moment would have been this:
I assure him that I was okay with him being positive and that I was strong enough to deal with it, and that nothing can stop us and we’ll live happily ever after.
But I froze. I didn’t know what to do. In my mind, I knew that HIV isn’t transmitted through kissing, unless there’s blood involved, like in case of bleeding gums. But I couldn’t kiss him. My fear got the best of me.
I could see he was disappointed because I didn’t kiss him. He started crying softly, trying to hold it in.
I felt really bad. I grabbed his hand and tried to say something: “Ahmad…”
Ahmad: “It’s okay. You don’t have to explain”
He smiled, let go of my hand, and got up.
Ahmad: “I don’t blame you habibe. I completely understand”
Me: “It’s not that, it’s just…”
I couldn’t finish my sentence.
Ahmad: “I understand”
I didn’t know what else to say, so I did the walk of shame, unlocked the door myself, and got out.
I could hear him crying as I left the house.
Read Part 7 HERE
ps: “Let Me In” is a fictional story