Tuesday, March 31, 2009
A Blast From The Past
Two weeks after taking my trial period of ARV (anti retrovirals) and I seemingly did not have any undesirable reactions, I visited RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) as per an appointed date with my doctor and I had to restock.
Accompanied by an old friend of mine who's been a well honed nurse and instructor, the trip wasn't as lonely as before. In fact, jokes came flying here and there as I drove through the traffic infested metro down to the south express way. It had been quite sometime since I had caught up with my pal, Joseph. He's been through a lot of heavy problems too, and it seemed he was one of the more objective and calm people when I openned up about my being positive.
After taking the morning ARV set that I needed, we were told that the doctor would still be in at 2 PM so we decided to have lunch at ATC. Hey, cmon, we're Metro Manila dwellers, it's a rare occasion that we're in Alabang during lunch time... so we had CPK at ATC. Wow, we have that at Trinoma naman, diba?
After succesfully convincing Joseph to order the Thai Crunch Salad that changed his entire paradigm about asian salads, I rewarded myself by playing one of my favorite video games in Time Zone-- Tekken 6 Blood Rebellion.
Kinda weird, huh? This doesn't sound like a blog by an HIV+ person at all?
Well that's the point, you can't tell if they're positive or not unless you have them checked. These people-- US, live normally like everyone. The doctor told me that she treats it like a chronic disease. That's it. It's, like, not a plague of epic proportions in the USA-- for real! Again, it's just the fact that we're living in a soppingly hypocritical, severely prudent and image driven (Image?! Hello??) society that ain't doing rat shit for itself for being so.
Well, that piece of angst aside, (I used to have that in spades till I found out I had to chill to keep myself intact) back at the institute where the doctor was waiting, a familiar face bolted into the room where I was consulting with my doctor.
She was one of those legendary people who, for some graced and yet for some gored the streets and the club floors of Malate. Actually, she's a he but I'd adress her with all due respect for the succesful and well rounded implants on her chest. A very familar face with those fierce eyes shown. Eyes that peered into the soul of a clubber. I'm sure, if that clubber was high, he'd break down with a trauma that could last for months. A drag queen? I'm not sure, I wasn't able to ask that and I don't think it'd be the proper place to do so. But she looked straight into my eyes the moment she got in.
"You look very familiar."
Those eyes had a voice. And what a squeaky girly voice it was. That first line dispelled all the industrial strength, drag queen flavor she had in my thoughts. Come to think of it, it's all fiction and made by the cruel mean society that I was also part of. I pre empted that squeaky voice and the depth of those eyes because I saw my other friends shivering in fear, or looking in a disturbed fashion at her, long ago in the club. I pre empted someone who is in the same state as I am. I pre empted someone, way back, who made me feel better today.
"Ye... Yeah, you do too."
I replied in a shy 'Walt Disney's Bambi' like way. But I smiled because I just can't help it. The mythical fierce drag queen in the club is now a person in front of me, as am I, probably to her.
"You'll be OK."
She followed with a smile. OK, the smile scared me a bit, still. But she continued:
"I've been like this for sixteen years! So you'll be OK!~"
Wow, sixteen years of being positive and she still looks healthy and great. Fierce to be exact.
"Really? Gee, thanks... thank you so Much!"
I was at the zenith of being sincere. Much like a dog exposing it's belly to his master, I couldn't help but be thankful and warm to her because the fact that she's the way she is and she's being 'fierce' for 16 years-- that means I'm going to be OK.
That's what Joseph told me too. He also knew her. He also retreated at the sight of her.
No offense to her, at that time, we were not used to seeing people like that. But it was also our mistake not to look closer and question or find out why they get a kick out of being 'drag-ish'.
I'm not confirming her to be a drag queen, it's a profession and it's just that I didn't ask her so I didn't get an answer. What's that word? A tranny... yeah... I think in our world she falls under that bracket.
Her fierceness was a whiff of fresh air and a reminder that I can be fierce too. Well, not that way but I mean I can deal with this. I'll survive. No... I'll simply live.
I'll put it in how Joseph said:
"Wow, 16 years. She's had it for that long: You'll be, OK."
*SNAPS FOR EVERYONE*