I sat in my den talking to Rosa on the phone late last night. We have become inseparable friends these days and spend most of our waking hours together and on the phone when we are apart. I call us the odd couple.
“I got scheduled for an HIV/AIDS test,” I told her, letting the cat out of the bag.
“I got tested a few years ago and was negative,” She told me, sounding offended.
“It will just give me piece of mind,” I replied. “I need to do this for me.”
“You are the first guy I have been with in years,” She said, innocently, sounding honest.
I wasn’t taking any chances though.
“I know,” I replied. “But you used to hook and I don’t want to take any chances.”
“I always used condoms,” Rosa said, tersely. “I was just desperate to support myself.”
I couldn’t imagine being so desperate for money that you would have to sell your body to feed, clothe, and house yourself. Such is the reality for many forlorn and desperate women in our inner cities. It is a sad fact of life that is often swept under the rug and not talked about by polite society.
I then yawned loudly, telling Rosa I must head for bed.
“I’m sorry,” She said as we said our goodbyes.
“Sorry, for what?” I asked, confused.
“Sorry for putting you in that situation and worrying you,” She said. “I don’t want things between us to change.”
“I am a big boy and was just as complicit in that as you,” I replied. “You get some sleep and don’t worry. It hasn’t changed anything.”We hung up our phones. I tried to sound brave as we said goodnight, but I am scared to death deep down inside. I have never been faced with the prospect of a disease that might cause my demise. I will be glad when those test results come back.