Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Time Flies

hourglassI just got back from a loooong weekend. After last Thursday spent at San Lazaro, Friday morning signaled the start of a big family weekend. From my dad’s side of the family, aunts, uncles and cousins already based in the US came home to the Philippines. Some of them I hadn’t seen in twenty-plus years. Add to that most of the clan based in the Philippines, most of whom I haven’t met or don’t even know. We all headed to the southeastern part of Luzon, to go home to our province in Bicol.

My mom and I were fetched at home Friday morning, and picked up some of my dad’s cousins and their families in the area. We totaled 16 in the van, including 4 kids, just right for the size of the vehicle. By about 8:00 in the morning, we were on our way out of the city. So how far away is it? Eight to ten hours. Loooong trip. I had planned to sleep through the whole trip, but with all the yakking and cackling of everyone else there, plus a special mention to the cousin I had beside me who kept tapping my shoulder telling me to listen to her, and slapping my back everytime she laughed, I hardly snuck a wink in.

So needless to say, we were there in no time. We got there before 5:00 that evening. Tired. I’m sure I wondered if this was HIV-related fatigue, but really it was just such a long trip.

I honestly had been dreading meeting all the relatives I haven’t seen or didn’t know. I’d much rather blend into the wallpaper. I sort of got used to being “just the other child”, but my brother and sister weren’t there at the time to grab all the attention. I don’t really have much to be proud of, at least not to the levels of my siblings. It’s all just same old, same old for me. But really, it wasn’t that bad. Save for a number who just wouldn’t stop asking if I was married or had a girlfriend or what, everyone seemed glad to meet me. I still half hate everytime people say I’m a carbon-copy of my father. But no permanent damage.

So what’s the big occasion anyways? It’s my grandmother’s birthday. Not just any. It’s her 100th. One hundred years. That’s like a double gold, or a silver-diamond. Wow. I know. She’s hard of hearing, almost blind, bedridden most of the time, but noticeably, her mind, wit and humor are still there. I know I inherited those from her.

Apparently women in our family have longer lifespans. My grandfathers on both my dad’s and mom’s sides are already gone, while both grandmothers are still around. My dad didn’t even make it to 60. And as for me, I can only be happy that I’ve gotten to 30. The odds of me even reaching 50 are grim. But that’s all me, my genes are not to blame.

I thought this would be a good time to pull my sister aside and tell her about my condition. But I never got the chance, not to mention I doubt if I’d have the guts to tell her. But all in all, it was not bad. I loved seeing my cousins from the US. Even the one I accidentally dropped from a flight of stairs when I was a kid. Even the one who used to tag team with my brother to bully me. I loved meeting the at least 200 of my relatives, thinking to myself that this might be the last chance they’d get to meet me.

I tend to wonder if this many people will show up when my time comes. And it honestly makes me sad that I can’t say for certain. So I need to change the topic.

So anyway, home by Sunday morning after taking the night trip by public transport, I’m happy. I’m proud, because I faced what was sort of my fear of facing people. Facing family. But this is only the beginning. They’ll find out about me eventually. And I realize that this is something that I should begin facing now, before time runs out.

1 comment:

thonnibg said...

Wow,100 years!A whole century!Good on your granny:)

Too bad your sister wasn`t there.That would be the perfect opportunity to talk to her.
I just think how wonderful it would be if all your relatives there knew about the HIV and gave you all the support!

But glad to hear at least you had a good time over the weekend.