He texted me yesterday, ” My CD4 is 101.” I was in the queue to get a duplicate for my damaged license. ๐Ÿ˜ณ I texted.

In the meantime I looked up on the net to confirm what 101 meant. My suspicion was right- anything below 200 is AIDS. Fuck! 

“What did the doctors say?” I texted back. 

“I came home from the office” he said. 

“Can I call?” 

I ranted on twitter at the whole thing while I finished my license work. He called as I was winding up. He could barely speak. 

“I’m coming over,” I said, 

“Are you sure? You don’t need to come so far” His place is some 10 miles away-almost outside the city by our little town standards.

“Yes. Have you had anything to eat? Should I bring something?”

“Is it advisable to eat food from outside?” he asked.

“Actually no.”

“Then get some onions, I’ll cook ____……    and milk if you want tea.”

He sent his location on whatsapp. 

This was the first time I was visiting his place. His colleagues were there. It’s funny how age is not a factor in gay friendships or relationships but suddenly in presence of people you’re not out to it seems odd. So I was his “brother in law” ๐Ÿ˜

Once the boy and the girl left we returned to normal. 

“I only had a headache since the morning. And these red eyes. I didn’t know what to tell them. I told these guys I am undergoing chemotherapy for some personal problem and I’d rather not talk about it. I told the boss I had a splitting headache. I have been dizzy since the results. The doctor seemed shocked too. He was polite for a change today because I think I cried in his office.” He had started on Atripla only 3 days back. I’m not going into the details of how this fuck up of him not taking meds earlier (he was diagnosed last Aug) happened on this post. 

He doesn’t have any furniture other than the bed right now. He’s shifted here only a fortnight back. I asked him to slide over so that I could lie down. He hugged me as soon as I was comfortable and started sobbing. I tried to hug away his fears. He didn’t know that I was hugging him for myself and not only to comfort him. “This must be deja vu for you,” I heard him say from under my arm. “?” I said. “You must have done all this with your ex before.” 

“No, this is different,” I said.

“You’re special ๐Ÿ˜‰” I added with a smile. He smirked knowing that I was joking. 

[I had been feeling low and depressed since the morning after finishing my last gay romance. This human touch was therepeutic for me too. Few days back while driving I had kept my fist (yeah not palm but fist) on dad’s thigh-I needed some human connect. He lifted my hand kept it back in my sea,”what’s this? ๐Ÿ˜ ” he had said. I had kept quite and drove on.]

While hugging him I was thinking I have so much love to give, so much, yuge, and no one to receive it. Does He regret not having me do this to him exactly like this? Drawing circles on his back while hugging away his troubles? Will this love just shrivel and die as I grow older? Will I be a dry shell in a few years?

Later, when we were sitting apart on the bed, he smiled and said hopelessly, ” This was what was left. I have AIDS now.”

“See you’re rock bottom and there’s no place to go but up. So buck up.”

“Whenever I think I’m at the rock bottom life throws even worse things at me to show me that there’s more space at the bottom.”

I thought of cancer, TB, pneumonia….shoving away the thoughts I said I guess a bit curtly “Then stop challenging life and take care of your health.”


2 thoughts on “101

  1. In modern medicine, the CD4 count has been less of an indicator of a person with HIV health’s status. CD4 counts fluctuate dramatically, and a non HIV+ person could have a count of 101. I don’t want to sound dismissive because 101 isn’t ideal but it’s not AIDS. The best marker we have of measuring the immunity system of a person with HIV is their viral load. Maybe switch the focus to that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right. Unfortunately we don’t know his viral load yet. But he’s been having a bad month (during which I had fought with him and stopped talking๐Ÿ™ˆtill I asked him to come and watch his fav Wonder Woman). He had severe throat infection, lump in the lymph node there, dizziness, fainted on the road etc. Now he has red eyes for past week. I have asked him to see a specialist and to not google it โ˜น๏ธ


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