The usual story, friends turned lovers. Although we weren’t a couple, we never got to that part. Jeff, has been a good friend of many years. He was one of best pals during my wild Castro years. Many times, he rescued me from my disastrous affairs. Those were the hey-days, things are so much different now.
He left the state to help his ailing parents, but throughout his absence we’ve kept in touch. We call each other every other week end to catch up on stuff. We’ve always have that utmost concern for each other. Like we use to say, I watch your back, you watch mine!
When his Mom expired, I didn’t have to think twice of running to his side. He didn’t ask me to come, but I wanted to. Even without asking, I knew he needed me. He was just shy to ask. I didn’t tell him though that when I got back home, I lost my job. My darn employer said, I didn’t give enough notice. But besides my misfortune, there was never an inkling of regret. He needed me, I needed to be there for him, period!
Three months after that, he decided to come back to California. I was the first to know and I helped him get his new place and get things settled. He found a job, I found one, too. I was happy to have my friend back here with me!
I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing after. Till that day he made his feelings known. He wanted to take our friendship to another level. I was shocked in disbelief and without any notice. I shut him out of my life! It was bad move, totally uncalled for. I had my reasons, but I didn’t tell him. You see, friendship means more to me than love affairs. I think it’s quite rare that we find true friend, while lovers can just come and go. I was afraid that if we became a couple, I’d lose that perfect friendship we have down the road.
It took me days and weeks to clear my head, and I’ve made up my mind. I can lie to the world, but I can’t be a hyprocrite to myself. I knew, I loved him and am ready for it. But then came another blow, something I wasn’t expecting. Just when I thought I knew him and was ready to jump into unknown waters, he told me he was HIV positive. I was shocked in disbelief! I wen’t back to solitary confinement and shut my world again.
This time, it took me months to recover. I’ve received numerous emails, letters, note cards and flowers. But nothing can give me that comfort I am so longing for. Like I use to say, I was never a religious person. But I got on my knees and begged heavens for enlightenment. And as the saying goes, asked and you shall receive. I got my answer from a book. It says,
You can explore the Universe looking for somebody who is more derserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere.
Then one night, he came to my house and I finally got the courage to face and tell him of what I’ve gone through. He sat there just looking at me. He was quiet the whole time. I said that I was about ready to love him, give us the chance to be a couple. But when I found out of his HIV, I couldn’t let myself go and get dragged into something I’ve been fearing for all of my entire gay life. That at the end of the day, I had to think of me. And that self love is much important than any love there is in this Universe. I made the choice, and that doesn’t mean I don’t love him — I just love myself more.
I didn’t want to be selfish, but I didn’t want to be selfless either. I don’t consider anyone with HIV less of a person that I am. I can’t be judgemental, but I can’t throw my life away just because I was in-love. But eventually, what I’ve been fearing for happened in time. He shut me off! He didn’t listen to my reasons, he thought I was being prejudice. Like what he did for me, I gave him time to internalize. Gave him the space he needed to think everything over. And then one day, he showed up at my door and said — Can we be friends again?