In two days I am facing the greatest fear of my life – my past. More specifically, I am meeting my ex, John, and selfishly revealing the feelings inside me. Feelings I have had for ten years; and for five years. There are two things that I never told John since we last shared a bed, or a kiss, despite the continuity of our relationship interrupted by time. He knows not that I am still in love with him, and that I am now a person with HIV. I am stepping into a black hole of denial, and hoping to propel myself outward a better person. I have no expectations, or any real objective for that. I know only that I cannot go on with the all of this inside of me, and him not knowing.
What I have to say is quite a lot of heavy information to hear in a few hours, one day even. Most especially it must be difficult after not having dated for ten years, and not speaking for the last four or five. I certainly know, and know only, how difficult it is to feel it, and to (soon) say it aloud. I haven't figured how I am going to tell him all of this though. I've had with him too many times the 'I'm sorry I hurt you…" conversation. I don't feel that I can allow this to be an umbrella apology for my wrongdoings of the past. We all have our history, and with that we all have our story. A distorted story of my past is something I'd rather re-imagine as time moves on. I would much rather my focus this Friday be on him, and how proud I am of him, and wish he were happy.
Shortly before John graduated university (where he studied graphic design) his class had a senior art show, which I attended without John knowing. I remember seeing his work displayed, and comparing it in my mind to his portfolio four years earlier when he was applying (it was at this time we were dating, 18 years old – and truth be told, I wasn't impressed with his portfolio work at the time, and told him so). I was so proud of how much he matured as an artist. He always had such an eye for colors, and now I could see him incorporating it strategically into his work. I was just so proud.
Not long thereafter he had his graduation party at his parent's house, to which I drove to in four hours traffic (Welcome to New Jersey). I stayed for only two hours; he, drunkenly, said he wanted me to stay longer. I couldn't. I never told him but that afternoon, only a few hours before I rented a car and started my drive up, I had been released from the hospital after a five day admission for cellulitis of the arm. (An unfortunate consequence of a batch of pneumonia vaccine tainted with heavy metals.) I couldn't tell him. I wanted him to enjoy his night.
Over the last ten years, at each pathetic interval during which we were friends, there have always been subtleties. Unanswered, and unasked, questions. Unspoken truths. In ten years, my love for him has been unwavering, even in all of his absence. And I have never told him so. Until this Friday.