I am on the Metra when I get the call.
I am on the Metra when I get the call around 7:30 p.m., heading home later than usual. I stayed at work late because I took a long lunch to go to the doctor. I had just seen Dr. B a couple of months earlier--right before I started dating "him"--for my annual. Everything was in fine, working order. Now, here I am having to back to her office.
I. Can't. Pee.
I'd experienced having to pee too much before; seems like I can't look at a man without getting some type of UTI or yeast infection. They're so routine I keep a stash of amoxicillin "just in case", like I take Theraflu when I feel the sniffles coming on. But the no pee'n shyt? That was brand new, Code Red.
Tired, my head leaned up against the window, I know it can't be good when the number to the doctor's office pops up on my phone. I know it's worse than not good when it's Dr. B's voice on the line and not some random after-hours nurse.
"We have the results of your labs back."
"Okaaaay..." Slight smile in my voice because I laugh when I'm uncomfortable.
"It appears you have chlamydia and ---"
My ears go deaf at "and". My mind couldn't process "and". What the f*** you mean "and"? I'm genuinely confused. Even at 24-years-old it had never really dawned on me that STIs could actually travel in pairs. Talk about unheard of. As it turns out, gonorrhea followed her "and", and followed my thoughts the rest of my ride home.
You ever cried on a train or a bus before? Not looking at nobody so that maybe they (or God) will be kind enough to have nobody looking at you crying? It sucks.
Dr. B called in my prescription to the 24 Hours Walgreen's closest to my house. Driving, thinking and worried. How did I let this happen? I know better. What is he gonna say? How do I even tell him? Am I angry? Angry at him? People can walk around with all kinds of diseases and not know they're sick; how can I be mad at him if he doesn't even know he has this--these? Thank God I don't have HIV. Thank God I'm not pregnant.
Back home, I take this medicine designed to eradicate all this nastiness going on in my body and it gives me horrible diarrhea and cramps. Still in a state of disbelief, I feel something like anger but not quite. Sadness, but deeper than that. Then I remembered the Lady in Green and her refrain"somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff." That's EXACTLY how I felt!
I could've been taken out the game behind this...internal scarring...unable to have children...left with a Scarlet Letter on my womanhood, tainted to any future men...it could have been HIV. All for what? We weren't even that serious about each other. I kept re-reading Lady in Green's poem and it was Ntozake's words and not "him" that comforted me through that experience.
He didn't even seem concerned for me or even himself when I told him.
For more information on National Women & Girls HIV/AID Awareness Day and HIV/AIDS education, visit www.redpumpproject.com.