Normally, I can screen-reactive someone for HIV and not get affected but you, you were different.
I had a day of 7 non-reactive cases. I ended my day at the gym and you suddenly messaged me on Grindr. You were less than 25 feet away and I was wondering if you were inside the gym. You weren’t. You were downstairs, you said.
I waited for you outside the gym and you said you were coming up. But you changed your mind and said, maybe some other day. I insisted. You wouldn’t go up to the gym so I went down to the 3rd floor where you were waiting. I got there and I received a message from you, you’re at the 5th, and that you’re sorry for the mistake.
I ran up the stairs to the 5th and found you at the couch in front of the elevator, You smiled and your eyes brightened up as I approached you. We went up to the room.
You’re 19. 6th in the family. Your parents are both deceased. You work to sustain your own education. You only had two sexual encounters, both of which were with your boyfriends. Your last negative test was October 2017 and you broke up with your first boyfriend in November. You have been with your current partner for three months now.
You were reactive.
Your eyes were sad. Your voice trembling when you speak and you just listened mostly. I tried to let you speak so I can listen but I ended up doing most of the talking. I can’t take my eyes off yours.
You were sad. Like most of the other cases, you were sad.
But I felt you. Your sadness.
Yours pierced right through me.
You had to go since your uncle was waiting downstairs.
You made me promise that I won’t leave you.
You promised you will seek treatment.
You came back early the next day to meet your case manager. I told myself you were serious about your promise, as I was with mine.
But your eyes were sad, still.
One day, I hope to see that same brightness in your eyes, and that big smile.
I will be back in Cebu. To see you.
And things can only get better. Things will get better.