We met at my best friend’s birthday party. He was friends with my best friend’s boyfriend. After the informal introductions, we all settled into the party. I found myself being drawn to him. He was quite the charmer but it didn’t feel superficial. He struck a chord with me that day and we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep in touch.
A week after the party, we set agreed on a date. Martin thought it would be a great idea to keep things simple and have a picnic. The afternoon couldn’t have been better. I found myself slowly falling for him. Days after the date was over, we’d still spend hours chatting on WhatsApp.
We had many dates after that and it wasn’t long after the outdoor dates became house visits. I still remember the first time. His breath warmed my ear as he leaned in and sucked the lobes. I felt my heart race, my blood pulsing with urgency surged through my veins. He ran his tongue along the length of my neck, gently sucking on its thin skin. He led me to his bedroom and lay me on the bed. He slowly began to take my clothes off. In a breathy whisper, I asked if he had condoms. He stood up, made a hurried attempt at looking for them and when he came back, he said he didn’t have any. At this point, I felt like I trusted him and so we didn’t use any protection. We agreed to both get tested the next time we met.
Martin and I never did get tested. The subject never even came up after that day and neither did we stop having unprotected sex.
Nothing lasts forever and after a year of being together, cracks started forming in the relationship. He would miss our dates more than he’d show up to. He became secretive and when I confronted him he’d get very defensive and accuse me of mistrusting him which was absurd.
My suspicions were confirmed one night when I answered one of his phone calls and was confronted by a lady who claimed to be his girlfriend. That my friends, was the straw that broke the camel’s back and Martin and I broke up.
He managed to move on quite fast, judging by his social media. It wasn’t long before my pictures were replaced by another girl’s. I never heard from him for a while after that until one Saturday afternoon in April.
It was a particularly ordinary day, I woke up, slightly hungover after a night of heavy drinking with my friends. I reached to my bedside for my phone and the first thing I saw was his text. I recognised his number even though I hadn’t saved it.
‘I have had news,’ the text read.
Naturally, I was startled so I texted back but my impatience got the better part of me and I called him back.
‘Martin, what is wrong?’
‘Linda, I am so sorry.’
After a long pause, he said, ‘ I tested positive.’
‘Positive? What in the world do you mean? Positive for what?’
He sighed heavily before he responded, ‘Linda I am HIV positive. You should probably get tested too.’
The world came to a standstill. The phone felt heavy in my hands and I let it drop on the pillow. My head started to hurt, badly. It all seemed so unbelievable. I checked and double-checked my call log to make sure that the conversation I just had was real. My mind just couldn’t make sense of it all.
It’s one of those things that I hardly ever thought about. Having my status checked I mean. Except on world AIDS Day or back in campus during those sex education drives my friends dragged me to.
Frantically, I got out of bed. I drove, dazed, through the light traffic until I got to the nearest VCT centre. The centre was housed in a low blue building. I walked in and a young man sat at the front desk. I went straight to the point, there was no other reason for me being there after all.
After taking down some basic information about me like my name and age, he ushered me into an empty room.
A elderly-looking lady came in and shut the door behind her. She asked me several questions about my previous sexual history and then walked me through the test process. She explained that if I got a double line I was positive and if the line was single on the strip then I had tested negative.
What followed was the longest five minutes of my life. Memories of Martin and I swam through my head, I felt angry at myself for being so careless and trusting.
When the results came back, she put the strips on the table in front of me and asked me to lift the small cloth that covered it, I felt my heart stop.
There was only a single line. A flood of relief rushed through me as I left the room. I had learnt my lesson nonetheless and swore to never take chances with life again especially when it came to my HIV status. I would never get so into the moment that I would forget to use protection.
Single lady in Nairobi is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different women. It looks at the current world of dating in Kenya and the experiences that ladies have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Potentash.com.
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