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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Ex Factor

MetallicaI haven’t seen Papi since our first date almost a month ago. Thanks to being busy with my aunt’s passing away, plus the two typhoons that just happened to ravage the country on successive weekends… yeah, it was like I had a date one weekend with Ondoy, and another with Pepeng the next. Papi almost got jealous. Hehehe.

But I’ll be honest, I did have a date... a human one... and it wasn’t Papi.

I was on my prior-to-HIV YM account some weeks ago, after being off it for so long, when I got a message from a familiar name. It was my ex-boyfriend asking how I’ve been. He was my third boyfriend, from way back 8 or 9 years ago. After our break up, we’d managed to transcend to becoming friends. I mean, we weren’t meeting up anymore, but we were able to stay in touch.

Every time we’d catch each other online, he’d ask how I was doing. A simple question to answer supposedly, but it wasn’t. It was different. I mean I was okay, but I was different. He knew of how wild I could be, and was just so curious about not seeing me online anymore. He guessed that I was probably in a relationship. But after hearing that I’d been single for almost two years, things just didn’t make sense. He knew me well enough to know something was up.

Hold on. Now let me make clear first that this was not a case of love being lovelier the second time around. Nope, he wasn’t interested in getting back together with me. He had a boyfriend, and they’d been living in with each other for several years already. We were just friends... who just happened to be a couple before. Yep, it’s possible.

So anyways, given that we’d known each other for so long, he knew me well enough to know something was up. So from the lack of an excuse, plus the fact that I had no reason to keep secrets from him, I told him. I told him I had been dealing with HIV. I couldn’t really read how shocked he was from the way he chatted, but he did say he was saddened by the news. And with that, he insisted that we meet.

With my little secret out of the way, I had no reason not to see him. I’m confident I didn’t put him at risk of infection, despite the fact that we did it unprotected back when we were still a couple. Yep, I was still at the dawn of my sexual awakening back then. Much, much less adventurous than I’ve become now. And we hadn’t had sexual contact since breaking up years ago.

Honestly, when I was starting out my HIV journey, back when I was still with San Lazaro, he came to mind. Mostly it was because of what was then an apparent need to have someone with me – a friend or family member – before they would start me on ARVs. He lived extremely close to San Lazaro, which is why I have him to thank for my being familiar with the area. I considered asking for his help if I had no choice, but didn’t want to be an inconvenience. But I’d transferred to the RITM soon after, and that time never came.

Back to the present. One evening after work, I took a trip other than the way home... to the same mall we used to frequent together. So going there really brought back memories. Not necessarily good or bad, but memories nonetheless.

He got to the mall first. I got there some minutes later. Walking to him, I didn’t know what he was thinking. I’m sure he wasn’t ashamed of what had become of me, nor was he going to reprimand me for what had happened. I mean, we weren’t like that before. I was always the kid to him, him being 10 years my senior. But I think I’ve gained more than my kid’s share of respect from him at this point. So I wasn’t going to need to defend myself to him. But from the look on his face, I think he just felt some pity. It was pity that I was planning on changing.

If meeting with me was his way of reassuring me of his support through my supposed endeavor, meeting with him was my way of showing him and proving to him that I was okay, and that I was still the same old me, at least, or hopefully even better.

I mean, 8 or 9 years ago, I was certainly a different me. Maybe I was less mature and less experienced. But that many years passing can really change a person. I mean deep inside I’m still me, but experiences and learnings should’ve changed me somehow, right?

So of course, other than strolling around, having dinner and lounging around, the evening was primarily filled with catching up. I did have him read through this blog prior to us meeting, just so he had an idea of how long a journey we were going to have to recap. He had a lot of questions which I gamely answered, and of course, I had him share all about his life as well.

On the most part, he was supportive. But he was peeved when he found out that I didn’t call on him during the time that I needed someone with me. And then of course he was pissed that I hadn’t told my mom about my condition yet. Argh. But he understood it wasn’t going to be easy for me. But still, I got the scolding. Argh again. I know he’s just concerned, but he was still treating me like a kid. Hmp, si lolo talaga! Hehe. Just kidding!

Anyway, pretty soon, I think we got to where I wanted us to be. I was joking around with him, just like we were before, and he was not getting all my punchlines, just like we were before. Hehehe. We blame it on the age gap, but we just laugh it off now, unlike before. But really the bottom line was that he knew that I was okay, I knew he was okay, and we knew we were okay.

Since that time, we’ve had dinner one more time, and he’s even managed to get himself tested for HIV at the Social Hygiene Clinic. So he met my Dr. Diana Mendoza and my territory there. I do think he was getting tested regularly whenever he donated blood, but still I was so proud. Happily, he’s negative.

We do plan on meeting up again sometime. Maybe I’ll get to meet his hubby. Or he did say he’d want to check out Papi as well. Aba, kikilatisin pa! Schucks, strict ang lolo ko, no? Hehehe, kidding!

So there. That was my date. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a date-date. Otherwise Papi could kill me. It was a friendly date. This friend just happened to be one which I was carrying over into my new poz life. Nothing bad about that. Nothing bad about the ex-factor.

9 comments:

ACRYLIQUE said...

Maiintindihan naman yun ni Papi, Im sure. :) It's past tense naman na.

wanderingcommuter said...

:)

hope all exs are like that... definitely a breath of fresh air.

Ming Meows said...

i wish i could do that with my ex.

john stanley said...

pa-meet mo rin sa akin si papi. kikilatisin ko rin. lolo ako!

PinoyPoz said...

nyahaha! si lolo johnstanley talaga! strikto ka ba, o chismoso lang? hehehe.

The Green Man said...

Hehehe. I don't think Papi is the jealous type :-D I will smack him when he does get jealous and remind him of his "heredera" upbringing.

BadPapiNYC said...

Kikilatisin? or guillotine?

PinoyPoz said...

Kikilatisin lang daw. Pero pag ddi mo daw ako ni-love, guillotine. Bwehehehe.

BadPapiNYC said...

love love love love love, samahan mo pa ng P10 na taho.