Why does society treat you as an outcast when you’re single? Is it not bad enough that I have my two best friends pressuring me to date every chance they get. It’s probably because I still haven’t told them the reason I’ve avoided dating: The fact that I am HIV positive. It’s this dirty little secret I’ve been keeping to myself for the last two years. I’ve tried telling my friends and family numerous times, but something always gets in my way. At least that’s what I tell myself. Don’t worry, I’m ninety percent sure you can find my picture under the word cynical in the dictionary.
Since my ex-boyfriend basically called me a walking disease, I’ve lost a bit of my self confidence you could say. I mean, how am I suppose to tell my friends and family? I guess writing a letter to my parents won’t cut it.
More importantly, how is Travis, the new guy I like going to take the news? He is perfect, and I am far from it. I have to trust him, but trusting someone is easier said than done.
If dealing with HIV wasn’t enough, the bombshell my mom decided to invoke on my sister and I sure takes the cake. At least that’s what I thought, until I attended Lauren’s birthday party. Who knew that would be a night I would never forget.
Who would have thought ripping off a band aid would be the most painful route to take?
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This isn’t good. She knows, damn it. I can’t even lie to her and tell her I take the medications for a different reason. She knows what the medications are for. I completely forgot I had my medications in my purse when I gave her permission to go into it to grab the tampon. I mean, I wasn’t thinking. I was half asleep. I don’t know what to say. She’s caught me off guard. I stay silent.
“The medications are anti-retroviral medications. They are used to treat HIV.”
Cori gasps, completely shocked. She looks at me, but I turn my head. I can’t look at her. “Do you have HIV?” she asks.
I stand up to clear my plate. I’ve lost my appetite. What am I supposed to say?
“Those aren’t mine.”
Brennley stands up. “Hayden, I saw your name on them.”
I get defensive. This is my worst case scenario. I wanted to be the one to tell them on my own accord, so Brennley finding out this way? It’s awful.
“Maybe I took them out under my name for someone else, did you ever think of that? Maybe someone who’s ashamed of having to go to the pharmacy to buy them, worried they will be judged? Did you ever think of that?” Okay, that was a horrible lie, but I’m feeling cornered.
Brennley blows out a breath, and scratches her head. “No, I didn’t. I wasn’t accusing you of anything. I was just stating what I saw.”
I’m angry, but only because they found out like this. “Well, don’t jump to conclusions.”
I look over at Cori and I can see tears forming in her blue eyes.
“Hayden, just be honest with us. Whose medications are those?”
I squeeze my eyes shut. I will not cry. “No one’s!” I shout.
I look over and see tears now forming in Brennley’s eyes. I can’t do this. There are too many emotions floating throughout this room. I’m sad, hurt, angry, devastated, frustrated, and feeling very, very guilty.
“They aren’t mine,” I sob. My shoulders begin to shake.
Cori comes over and lifts my hands away from my face and wraps me in a hug.
“Hayden, it’s okay if they are yours, just be honest with us. We don’t care if they are yours.”
You know the feeling you get when you are about to cry and someone asks you if you are alright and, it’s them saying that, that makes you ultimately cry? That’s what I’m feeling right now. I release Cori’s grip on me and gently push her away. I turn and walk to the other side of the kitchen. I turn to face them. I wipe the tears that have spilled down my cheeks. I shake out my hands. My heart is hammering in my chest. My chest feels tight, like an elephant is sitting on it. I feel a bit dizzy, like the room is moving and I’m having trouble seeing straight. I take a deep breath until both of them come back into focus.
I decide it’s time for the truth to come out. Although when I tell them I can’t look at them. I’m scared to see their reaction.
“Alright, I give up. Those pills are mine.” I cry. “Because in fact, I am HIV positive.”