continued from part 6
I got out of Ahmad’s building, entered my car, put my hands on the steering wheel, and started crying.
Shit. Did that just happen? Did Ahmad just tell me he had AIDS? Did I just reject the guy who I imagined would fall asleep in my arms as I stroked his curly hair? It all happened so quickly. It felt unreal.
After crying in the car for 15 minutes, I drove back home. I dreamt about him that night. The disappointed look on his face was as vivid as it was a couple of hours ago.
During the next couple of days, I was so down. I wanted to call Ahmad and apologize for not being able to give us a chance. But I didn’t call. He didn’t either.
“This too shall pass”, I thought to myself. “You’ve been in break ups before. You’ve passed through much harder times. You were there when your boyfriend cheated on you with your best friend. If you can get through that, you can get through anything”.
I wish that was true.
After a week of trying to convince myself to let this go, I realized I couldn’t. So I visited Maya at the apartment she shared with her girlfriend. I wanted her to tell me more about Ahmad.
Maya: “Walidddd! I tried to fucking warn you”
Walid: “Bitch, this is not the time for that. Too late. I got involved”
Maya: “I should have expected you wouldn’t listen. You’re naturally drawn to drama!”
Walid: “How did you know about him?”
Maya: “Remember when I had that car accident five years ago?”
Walid: “How could I forget? You almost died on your way to the hospital. Everyone at the university heard about it and rushed to donate blood!”
Maya: “Ahmad was the first person who arrived to make the donation”
Walid: “Oh, you were friends?”
Maya: “No. I didn’t even remember seeing him in uni!”
Walid: “Okay… So then what happened?”
Maya: “He visited me at the hospital after my recovery. He told me he came to the hospital and donated blood, but they couldn’t use it. He was HIV positive. It was an emotional moment; I didn’t know who this guy was and yet he was the first to arrive at the hospital to give me blood, and my accident allowed him to diagnose the HIV. He thanked me. We held hands with tears in our eyes. We became friends ever since”
I was speechless. That’s one heck of a story.
Maya: “Listen, Walid. Ahmad is a very nice guy and I care for him a lot. But I was just worried for you. It’s hard to be in a relationship with someone who’s positive. When you’re dating him, you’re…”
Walid: “Dating the disease. I know. He told me”
Maya: “I’m not surprised. Ahmad’s a noble guy”
Walid: “He sure is…”
Maya: “Remember Jessy? The girl I was with for 7 months?”
Walid: “Yeah. I never knew why you broke up”
Maya: “She was positive”
Walid: “What? I had no idea!”
Maya: “I loved her so much. I supported her, and I would go to the doctor with her for her checkups. And in sex, we were always careful. But how careful can you be? The stress got the best of me”
Walid: “Maybe it wasn’t love then…”
Maya: “I loved her, but not more than I loved myself. She’s actually dating an HIV positive girl right now. She’s really happy”
Then she held my hand and said:
Maya: “…and I am happy too”
I knew what she meant by that.
Maya: “Just do the right thing for you, habibe”
Then as an attempt to change the gloomy mood, she says: “So, how about we look through our yearbook and make fun of people like the good old days?”
“Those ugly ass pictures always make me laugh”, I reply.
We spent an hour laughing at people’s yearbook photos which looked like mug shots, and confessed about who we’ve dated, fucked, etc.
Maya: “Oh, I’ve slept with her!”
Walid: “The Med student? I thought she had a boyfriend!”
Maya: “She did”
Walid: “Haha! Oh shit. Look at Miss Feghali. You know, I always sensed she was gay”
Maya: “She is”
Walid: “Okay, don’t tell me you’ve boned her too”
Maya: “How do you think I passed her course?”
Walid: “Gosh, I’m so blind. How didn’t I notice? You failed all your exams in that course”
As I was flipping through the yearbook pages, I got a paper cut, a big nasty paper cut that sprayed blood on the page.
Maya: “Shit, that’s a big one. I’ll be right back. The first aid kit’s in the kitchen!”
I’m a coward when it comes to blood, but this time I didn’t flinch. I boldly stared at my finger as the blood was gushing out and thought to myself: “the only person I would want to treat my paper cut is Ahmad”
Maya comes back with the first aid kit: “Okay, show me your finger”
Walid: “I’m fine. Listen, I have to go”
I got up to leave.
Maya: “What? Sit the fuck down. Let me treat it first”
I grab a couple of tissues from the table, wrap them around my finger, and head to the door.
“Where are you going?”, she asks me.
“To do the right thing”, I answer her.
Read part 8 HERE
ps: “Let Me In” is a fictional story