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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Like Poles Attract

Another weekend passed by. But it was far from my usual weekend of just lazing around at home and taking a breather from a week of work. I did spend Friday night and most of early Saturday just home recharging… but I was really getting ready for a night of epic proportions.

Another weekend passed by... and it was like a whirlwind.

It seems my weekends have become more active than usual, thanks to the little group of HIV-positive friends we’ve formed. Again, we’re not a formal group. We had HIV in common, and the RITM. But really, we were just friends and friends of friends. Simple as that.

For the past few occasions that we’ve met, the most that we’ve ever been is seven, which happened on each of first three times we went out. It was never the same seven people though. Just a little coincidence. I thought it’d be a pattern, but the fourth time, we were below quota at six. There went my theory.

This time it was going to be different. I don’t know exactly what was up with this weekend, but a lot of us were game to meet up. In the planning stages, up to 10 people were confirmed to come, with a good 5 or 6 more new guys invited. Of course, 10 minds working towards a common goal was difficult enough. Just deciding what time, where to meet, what movie to watch and where to eat was almost hell. Thankfully, the place and time got worked out, so by hook or by crook, it was happening.

So by 5:30 pm of Saturday, I was at the meeting place. I met the BruskoBoy among us, who got there first. Soon, RedApple and his friend got there. And then O. And then BFF-in-law, followed shortly by BFF. And then Positive’sStory. Already we were past our usual quorum at eight. We somehow were able to agree upon Japanese food. Soon, W showed up. And surprise, surprise, Papi showed up. Trese brought up the rear. Eleven?! Ten positives and Papi in a public place? I swear, no one could ever guess it was possible.

Okay, I apologize if I can’t openly disclose exactly where we were and where we ate. It’s because every so often, one of us would see someone he knew, and I’d rather stay away from the possibility of indirectly exposing someone’s identity, if someone just managed to put two and two together. It’s not common to see such a big group. Not to mention we weren’t exactly the type of group that was quietly blending into the crowd. We were somehow eleven huge characters.

After dinner, it was clear that a movie would not get agreed upon, with some saying they’d already watched this and that, and saying that this movie was dragging and that movie was bad. Downside I guess of being eleven in a group. Eleven opinions that won’t necessarily always jive. But it was all good.

After a lot of stalling, with one of us needing to head off for work, the ten of us left headed off for some night life. I know... I’m not exactly the night life kind of guy. But being part of a sizeable group was my safety blanket. Gulp still.

We ended up in a Malate-type place, that wasn’t in Malate. Scary that it was still that type of gimmick, but sans the snooty Malate atmosphere made it a bit better. I didn’t know though what to expect. The bit of wine we had before charging the place helped a bit. I was as ready as I’d ever be.

As it turned out, we got there early, being one of only two tables occupied at the time. I appreciated the space, though. Much unlike the few Malate experiences I’ve had, places so jam-packed that you’d be sharing your breathing space with four other people. Argh. Even at the peak hours past midnight, it still was nowhere near the density of people in Malate. I loooooved it. People could actually dance without having their knees fused together by the end of the night.

Grooving. Loud music. Smoke-filled air. Half-naked hunks dancing upon ledges. Gay impersonators. It all made for a fun night. Of course, alcohol was part of the equation for some of us, but everyone was within their limits. I can confidently say none of us was butt drunk in the end. To one extreme, one of us was enjoying the music, the dancing and the company with just a couple of glasses of pineapple juice. Others were having mixed drinks. Others, myself included, had beer... in numbers nowhere near my maximum capacity. Yep, that’s my defense. Hehe.

It was all good. Except the part where Papi kept rubbing in that he’d had sex with one of the half-naked guys dancing on the ledge some time ago. Imagine my eyes rolling into the back of my head. But sige na, I will choose my battles. I will blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol. And everything shall remain all good.

So there. By the end of the evening, which was morning already, six of us were left having breakfast, exchanging stories and jokes at one of the few 24-hour places we could think of. I got home past 6 in the morning I think. I know... the sun was up already. I don’t even remember the last time this happened, if it’s happened at all.

I know we were just 10 positives and Papi. Even if you include GreenMan, E, and some others whom we’ve invited to tag along, right now there isn’t even 20 of us so far. That’s like less than 5% of RITM’s roster of HIV-positives, and less than 0.5% of the national registry. Our group is tiny. Insignificant. And I know you might be wondering why our little group is such a big deal to us.

Being almost all HIV-positive is a big factor. I mean it probably gives each one of us such comfort to be able to openly talk about health, side effects, CD4 counts, and what not. But of course we’re not limited to just HIV-related stuff. Primarily, we are human beings, so we do talk about family, relationships, sex, work, jokes, bullshit and everything else under the sun as well.

We’re like a support group. But unlike our usual NGOs who call themselves “support groups” we don’t get together for the attention, to sex things up amongst ourselves, or for any funding. We’re unadulterated. We are friends. We’re just choosing to be happy... together. And I can say we truly support and care for each other. Now that’s a real support group. Who ever said like poles repel?

So there. If I was to sum up the more than 12 hours we spent together, uhm, caring for and supporting each other... and gimmicking as well, I have only three words: Fun, fun and fun. Till next time boys.

1 comment:

Trese said...

If you want we can't get funding... hingi tayo kay Mayor ng budget! Ahahaha!

Erratum.... 6 of us went to the resto but only 5 of you had breakfast kasi i was still high on EFV. Haha

Sana next time we can have GreenMan and Chronicles... let's make it wild! LOL.