Forget the past for now. Even this last week, and every day, so much happens in this life and in my experience that beginning is often halted by the burden of doing justice to my past.
Not today. Today is today, and if I do not begin to write, I may never have the opportunity to release myself, to know myself, to say the truth that is all that I have.
So here it is. Today I went to my big sister’s home. (she is bigger in every single way, but stature. And depending upon your cultural/social baggage that could count for more, too). We are both making strides toward each other. A huge shift and also an improvement over the 33 years that have preceeded us. Ours is a relationship built on love and duty, and hope. We are so different and so similar but that is a story for another time. I went at her invitation to co-chaperone the birthday party for her 5 year old son and my beloved nephew, Dane. She had hired an inflatable bouncehouse with a water slide and garden hose attachment. Her house is incredible. an expression of her self and her talents and her life. Beautiful, spacious, immaculate, well orchestrated with a special nod to her amazing green thumb in the inside plants and the flower and vegetable gardens surrounding the home. Being with my sister is an exercise in self-love. It is a meditation on acceptance of my own path, a path which has not resulted in the same comforts and success.
While sitting in the eddie bauer camp chair on the beautiful grass surrounded by healthy happy stable neighbor children and their watchful upper-middle class parents I received an unexpected call from the man I married. My other half, my soulmate, partner. Dennis. His photo on my phone is one of the few photographs that I posess of him. A 20 year old mugshot, lifted off of mugshots.com a couple years ago. After we lost it all, again. After 18 months of homelessness and addiction, after being on the run, of hospitalizations and near death, and finally after he went back to prison for the third time in his life, the second prison round of our marriage. It is a movie star image, like Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise of his young wild face. Deep eyes and reckless blond hair. He looks straight into the camera.
I accepted the call, and after a little small talk he told me that the center for disease control had pulled him from his cell and tested his blood. We had been expecting this test for months. Ever since the contacted me last December, part of the aftermath of events at the end of November, part of the aftermath of the whole first 34 years of my life. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Disease, and HIV positive. He said that the nurse had informed him that he has already been tested for HIV upon entering the prison. That the test was negative. There is still a chance that it could now be positive and so they drew a second sample the result coming next week. But my husband is HIV negative.
He is HIV negative. My first wave was relief. My second was selfishness and fear. It feels unfair. Why me? Why not any one else? will he stay? should I leave him? what is next.
At this moment there are too many voices in my head to address. I can’t convey with words the level of love, sadness, alienation and resentment I am feeling. If someone else is reading this then just please withhold judgment until I can write more clearly about how this feels.
Dennis said he loves me. I am his wife whether he is positive or negative. He loves me. He knows that our lives were insane, he doesn’t feel he needs answers or explanations. I’m feeling like, well, I would like some fucking answers. I would like an explanation. I would like to know why me and me alone? how did this happen to me, when will this stop? what twist is next, Universe?
And then my final coping skill kicks in. The one that kicks in at the very end of the game, at the bitter end, thelast second when I look lost to others. The one that says, alright then Universe. Fine. Yes. Bring it.