Just two years ago as I was waiting for a bus I saw my ex girlfriend. She was in a bus and the speed could only afford me a glimpse but it was enough for me to be sure it was her. Instinctively, I pulled out my phone and started searching for her contact number.
It was still saved as Babe- curious much because it had been long since her and I had broken up. What is more curious is that she was still using her old mobile phone line which was unlikely considering how easy it is to get a new mobile phone line in Zimbabwe.
In hindsight, I see why some people say that sometimes the gods tilt the scales for us.
I happened to have credit in my phone; definitely the gods! I really detested phone calls back then, I think. Anyway, I called her up, she picked up. She said Hello and I was surfeit with nostalgia. I said the same, giving it my all to curbing my enthusiasm. She giggled, God, I just bowed at the mercy of a vortex of emotions, not even trying to get a grip. All the memories- the make out sessions we used to have almost everyday in secondary school, the secrets that solidified into trust, the ridiculous fights, the sneaking out in the night etc. All of that in one moment.
I changed my travel schedule, I had to, and insisted to meet her in the City Center. It had to be that way because I had to report to my work station (six hours of road away) the following morning. She was excited about meeting me. I took the next bus to the city center.
Finally, I met her. She was wearing yoga pants and urgh…okay, I can’t remember really! She looked wow. She is really hot. Like TV hot, I think! Anyway, we hugged just before she flipped a lid over my formal wear- Occupational Hazard! We did some catching up. I wanted her and she wanted me so we made plans to meet in December.
December came as expected. However, I did not expect that she was to tell me that she was HIV positive. Blimey!
I was working as a temporal teacher at a government school in the rectum of Zimbabwe. I had to walk a long distance to a certain tree just to get mobile network signal to make a call. That made it hard for me to communicate with Babe. Time moved very slowly there, I swear it! I’m not sure this one was on the place or on me though. For the record, I loved the place; it warranted me some perspectives which helped me establish some of my cardinal beliefs. Anyway, December finally came.
I started dating Babe. On our third date, she told me she found out she was HIV positive. I was dating an HIV positive girl. No, I had not had sex with her(not that there is something absolutely wrong with this). I had learned about HIV in school and in my personal time in the library growing up. Actually, I once had a fungus infection (for some strange reason I thought it was an STI- not that I had done stuffs lol) so I was trying to self-diagnose using Medical Books. That is partly why I did not freak out at her HIV status. I was not desensitized, just to be sure and if you think otherwise then you were possibly sensitized.
I thanked her for telling me and I reassured here that it wasn’t a big deal. Because it isn’t. I even went on to tell her about the The Berlin Patient, Timothy Brown, who was successfully cured of HIV several years ago. She was pleasantly surprised. We went on to talk about PEP medication and she was familiar with this from her counseling sessions. I was impressed.
We continued to date as if what she had said was nothing. Because it was nothing! After some time, something started to get in the way of things.
Babe had some insecurities which became more apparent to me with time. She once dished me a random saying that she wanted to have a baby with me. I was just 19. Okay, put the age aside, I personally thought that having a baby I could not take care of was just fraud to say the least but I knew how convenient for me it sounded to her. I told her anyway and it worked. I could see through her thinking but I had decided to make allowances for that. Just in case you did not know, mixed couples(one of them is HIV positive) may have a baby without sharing the infection by using PEP(Post Exposure Prophylaxis) medication.
After a while she asked it of me again. This time I wanted to understand her more. She told me that she wanted to have a baby before she died. I wanted to be sympathetic and still get to think at the same time. This was just a part of how she expressed her insecurities and I started rethinking my position.
I believed that life was about making honest mistakes and vowing to pay for them. I still believe this. I also believed that it was good to make allowances for others’ mistakes and not punish the mistakes as would many people. Now, even her best guess was that she had somehow contracted HIV just recently. Okay, by somehow I am being overly euphemistic because I witnessed the sequence that led to this possibility myself.
I had dated this girl for about five years and I still remember visiting her just to tell her to go slow after I heard rumors about her at one point in time to which she assured me she was going to be okay. She often times expressed concern about how we were the same age- which is quite strange in Zimbabwe as society is very condemning of a man marrying a woman who is older than him. Basically, she was ruling off any possibility of a future with me. I figured I would have had to brake a leg to prove a point so that is when we first broke up.
When I first met her in Seventh Grade, when I saw her in the bus that time and after she told me she was HIV, she was the same girl to me. She clearly did not think so.
I thus broke up with her. Not because she was HIV positive but because she had changed. I could not help but think that she was acting against her true character and was insincere about her and I.
I always told her about how my life had been handed to me broken and she was the one person who was there for me in my deepest despair so it was hard for me to learn to care from a distance. I think I have mastered it!