I was taken into a private office by the matron on duty… With my Mother right behind us. I wasn’t sure how to break the news to her. I was told I could keep the news to myself and not share with anybody else… But its not advisable.
So, we are here. We all sat down, She (Mother) was seated facing the nurse and I sat in another corner.
“What’s going on Zacc, Madam?”
That’s how tears started again o. Kai. I think I cried two drums that evening. I couldn’t look at her at all.
“Is there some sort of complication? Please, someone say something”. She said this, half rising from her seat sharing glances between the matron and myself. She looked like a child lost in some evil forest. At this point, I wished Mae was with me.
Oh Mae… I left her wondering and confused. She’s no longer a friend. I couldn’t see her as one. I saw her as a blood relative. After I broke the “news” to her, She didn’t type anything for a while. Panic set in, water works lost control.
“:O what are you talking about? Better stop that joke fast” She had said.
“Its no joke Mae. I found out thirty minutes ago”.
“How come? Are you sure that’s your test result? No mix up whatsoever?”.
I explained the two test procedures I did. My cold biting retorts and attitude towards the nurse and the fear of breaking the news to my mother and the “Gang”.
“You haven’t told Mother yet?, She has to know you know? Don’t keep her in the dark. And about the “gang”, nothing will change. Sweetheart, have no fear. Don’t worry. There’s a solution and you know what it is.
Even as I read the texts of assurances and her unending love for me, I couldn’t draw comfort and hope from them. I was just blank… Letting every ounce of self-pity and doubt drench every part of me.
“Are you there?”
Apparently I had zoned out and left her hanging and worried.
“Mae, I’m going to die”.
I am very very dramatic. I recently found out that we are dramatic in my family – My cousins, my mother and even my late maternal Granny. We have this over imaginative ability that helps us see things at an excessively exaggerated level and most times it leaves a funny ambience on whoever and wherever we are.
“Zacc, what’s that now ehn? Which one is die in this matter? I don’t like it. Stop it… You won’t die.”
Death had come knocking… I thought I wasn’t going to see the sun again. My very own russian roulette. I was deathly scared. I felt the air stuff up all of a sudden. I kept crying. For a grown man, I did justice to wetting my pillow with my tears. Kai!
I ignored all of Mae’s remaining messages and turned off my phone. I looked around again at the patients and the nurses with silly thoughts roaming around my head…
Okay, back to earth! Stay with me people… Lol.
“Ma’am, calm down, there’s no complication. Nothing serious. Are you a Christ-” The Matron was saying.
“I’m HIV positive Mother” I said, cut in sharply amidst choked sobs.
And she fixed me that stare I had unconsciously dreaded all evening. That’s it. I could literarily hear wheels in my hear turn with devil’s leering words of self pity and hatred slowly making a depressing soundtrack about how I was gon’ be thrown out and disowned.
“So? Is that why you’re crying? Baby, wipe your tears” she said soothingly.
Ha! I’m dreaming. What was that I heard?! Baby?! When last did she call me that? This must be a ploy to not loose her cool in the presence of a stranger. The Matron and myself shared a bewildered look. Apparently we weren’t expecting that reply. This couldn’t be. I had to test the water before diving in.
“Mother, I’m HIV positive” I repeated. “I’m going to die”
“Shhh! No body is dying” then she faced the Matron and continued like I wasn’t there. “What’s the next step ma? I know enough to know he can’t die immediately from the virus but still I- we need to know what next to do”
I looked at my mother like she was one professor who’d grown all wise and old with wrinkled skin and recessing eyeballs in their sockets. First it was Mae, now Mother. This had to be a dream. I’ve heard of stories of where folks where stigmatized and thrown out. Oh the gruesome stories and tales…
I wasn’t sure of what to think. I zoned out again (a usual habit) on the conversation they were having. I couldn’t believe how a virgin could be infected. I thought of the hair salon I’ve been to to cut my hair, of sharp objects I had used – which I didn’t share with anybody or used anybodys’ at random.
I was confused all over again. How? Just how? I didn’t even want to think of a way forward. I craved the hospital bed… I needed to lay down. I got up oblivious to the two women in the room and walked towards the door.
Then I felt it. A hand. On my shoulder. I turned and I met the most amazing set of caring eyes. I was enveloped in a warm embrace. I kneaded into the body and craved the warmth and assurance it exhumed.
It was at that moment my phone decided to ring. I grudging pulled a way from my mother’s hug and brought out my phone.
I stared at my phone’s screen with enlarged eye balls and all I murmured “Oh no”.
Read Episode 1 “You’re Postive” here: The Zacc Chronicles (Episode 1) – “You’re Positive”.
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