So I went home that night with my nerves calmed and quieted, but definitely not gone. I was relieved that he took the news so well and did not freak out. I even thanked him for not slapping me (I do have a friend that has been slapped when he disclosed his status to a girl). However, I still had no idea where this left us. I had no idea what would come next. Maybe he wouldn't talk or hang out with me again? Maybe we would hang out the next time and he would tell me that he still liked me as a friend, but just wouldn't be able to date me? There was nothing to do but just wait and see.
Somehow, even with all these things in my head, I ended up sleeping great that night. I guess the whole event had just exhausted me- physically, mentally, and emotionally.
As I arrived to work the next morning, I received a good morning text from him and a wish of good luck on my first day of summer school. Alright. Smile on my face. This was a good sign.
Then, as I was driving home from work, I received another text. He was done working for the day, and wanted me to please bring over the HIV information/literature I had collected for him. Wow. Awesome. This was a great sign. I was so pleased that he actually cared enough about it to take the initiative to ask me for the information. He wanted to read it.
So, I raced home, grabbed the folder I had prepared, looked through it one last time, wondering if there was anything else I should add in there. This was a big deal. This could make it or break it. I had to give him some good stuff to start with. (What did I include? NY State 100 HIV Questions and Answers booklet; various Fact Sheets from Aidsinfo.net; a power point presentation on HIV Basics from a conference I attended; recent study results on Undetectable Viral Loads and Serodiscordant couples; and about 5 key posts printed out from my blog)
I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at his house. I was ready to just drop the stuff off and leave, but again, things went better than that. I went inside and we sat down on the couch and started talking- but not about HIV. It was just like normal, except for the folder sitting on the couch between us. Eventually he asked me what I brought for him. I flipped through the folder and just quickly showed what each thing was. He seemed excited about it and put the folder in his room to look at and read later. Then we sat there and continued talking, this time moving into topics about HIV. I was able to explain a bit more of the factual kind of information. I talked more in depth about my medicine and my numbers and what exactly undetectable meant. He asked a few questions of his own and asked for clarification on a couple things that I had mentioned. It turned out to be a great talk. I didn't have to cry during this talk, I had gotten that out of the way the night before. Now I was free to just be me and share what I knew.
I received a text later that night saying he had read my blog printouts and he was very impressed. I continued to smile.
This all happened a week ago. And we have been hanging out almost every day since then. We have been able to talk openly about it, share our feelings, and discuss various questions/concerns. There have definitely been some awkward moments, but we are both able to admit that this is new to us and we are doing the best we can. It is going to be a continual learning and growing process, for the both of us. I continue to be in awe of his openness, patience, and understanding.
I am 27. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together.