One of the things I knew going into life with HIV was that I would probably experience rejection because of the disease, probably from someone I cared about, and maybe from someone I loved. I prepared myself mentally for it and I told myself that when it happens I should be understanding. I told myself that this, David, will now be a part of your life, for better or worse. Just know that it will happen and when you finally get over it, make sure your heart is still open.
Well, that day has come. The rejection is indeed from someone I care about and love, and as much as I prepared myself for it, as strong as I thought I was, the pain is more real than I ever thought it would be. It has truly made me go deep into my reservoir of self-love and fortitude. Preparation, I suppose, is only effective when you know what you are preparing yourself for. I wasn't prepared for this. Understanding, I realize now, doesn't mean that it will hurt any less. Because understanding is a function of the mind, the pain from rejection is a function of the heart. When it comes to heartbreak the mind can only do so much.
I met this guy when I was waiting for the train. We'll call him Michael. Michael came up to me and complimented me on my leather jacket. He was charming, had a great smile, and I could tell he was incredibly nervous. He had a friend with him that he told me later was standing next to him just in case I was straight and punched him for making advances at me. But Michael thought, what the heck, this is San Francisco and there was probably a good chance I was gay, bi, or queer.
Turns out he was correct and we hit it off right away. I kept thinking to myself that this guy that was talking to me looked like a model (turns out he was one in his home country). He told me later that he could barely stand up because I looked exactly like the fantasy in his head of what his future husband would look like. I could see his hands shaking when he was talking to me. I suddenly couldn't put sentences together anymore and my vocabulary reverted to the 3rd grade. I couldn't come up with a witty retort to save my life. He kept asking me questions he already asked me over and over again, and then got adorably embarrassed that he had asked that question already over and over again. The weak in the knees, hardly speak, thing, was totally happening on both ends. Our nerves were palpable, but the chemistry was too, and we followed each other to The Castro where we both were headed.
We had a great time together, walked down the street together, and as guys were making advances at him throughout the night, he would say "No, I want only him!" pointing to me. As guys would make advances to me, he would say, "No, he's taken!" I thought it was such a refreshing direct expression of his feelings for me. We kissed for the first time as a reaction to one of these advances. I guess it was an easier way to get the point across. From then on, we held hands and acted very much like a couple in lust.
There's lots more to the story. Part 2 coming soon!