How AIDS can be Innocently Shared -- A redoux, not quite flash fiction

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“I’m HIV positive, you’re sure?” Angie asked, her voice quivering. Shocked beyond belief, she sat on the examination table and shivered in the icy room of her doctor’s office. She stared disbelievingly at a Norman Rockwell print of a small boy watching a large hand approach him with a huge syringe. She felt like she was the one who had been stabbed – in the heart.

“I’m so sorry, Angie, but the tests came back positive,” answered Dr. Taylor. Dr. Taylor had been Angie’s doctor since birth in the small town of very few doctors and none of them specialists. He knew his patient well.

White faced, Angie sat silently. Big tears formed in her brown eyes and rolled down her cheeks. She turned to face the doctor and said, “Can you run it again? I just can’t believe it! I …”

“Angie, I already have. I was so surprised that I requested a second test. I’m really sorry,” answered the doctor. “You and Bobby Dale have been dating for several years and you have been sexually active. Bobby Dale will have to come in for a test, too. I hate to have to ask you this, but the law says I must. Has there been anyone else? I need to know everyone you have been with,” he asked as tactfully as he could. “We have to report this to the health department, and then they take it from there. It is out of my hands now.”

Angie’s face clouded. She said harshly, “Nobody else, he’s my one and only, at least so I thought." What a fool I’ve been! I didn’t do anything! He had to have been two-timin' me, she thought to herself.

_____________________

“The damned bitch infected me,” Bobby Dale spat the words when he received news that his HIV test result was positive. He wondered who Angie had double-crossed him with. Was it Tyler ? They've been awfully friendly lately, he thought. He was shocked enough when he had been called in for the test. He stared at the gray-flecked tiles on the floor with loathing, then at the doctor. Like Angie, the same doctor had treated him since birth for his colds, his cut fingers, even a broken arm when he was five, but never anything like this. Dr. Taylor was shaken that out of all his patients, these two would have positive tests.

Dr. Taylor replied, “No Bobby Dale, Angie is HIV positive; you have full blown AIDS. It is more likely you infected her.”

An expression of relief crossed Bobby Dale’s face for an instant as he decided that Angie probably had not been untrue to him, but then the total realization of his condition hit him. He sat entranced in his own world allowing the words to sink in. I have AIDS, I may be dying, he thought. At least it explained a lot, his constant fatigue that he tried to hide from everyone, and he was getting a lot of colds lately despite all the orange juice he'd been guzzling. But where … how? The doctor broke into his thoughts with the same question, “Bobby Dale, who might have infected you? Who else have you been with?”

“Nobody, doc, that’s just it,” he answered. "We guys like to brag a lot. I admit I’ve done my share of braggin’, but braggin’ is all I’ve done. I’ve loved Angie since we were 14. We were each other’s first, and to tell the truth, I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea of bein' with anybody else. You are sure it couldn’t have been her?” He was almost hoping for an affirmative answer.

“Very unlikely,” answered the doctor. “But we need to get to the bottom of this and make sure. You haven’t had any blood transfusions, so what about drugs? Have you used a needle?”

“No, absolutely no drugs, not even steroids when I was playin' football!” the former high school athlete exclaimed.

“Okay, sorry, but you didn’t get AIDS from a toilet seat. You had to have been exposed to somebody’s body fluids. It only takes one time, you know. Think back, where and how.”

“Well, nobody’s bitten me, and I guess the neighbor’s dog don’t count,” Bobby Dale said sarcastically. “I just can’t think of any…. He gasped, “Oh… Oh…Oh, crap … Jason.” Bobby Dale’s brown eyes widened and his mouth flew open. It had to be Jason. His mind flashed back to that summer nearly nine years ago and what he and Jason had done.

The realization was too much of a shock. “Jason, why did we do that! What have I done?” Bobby Dale fell to the floor wailing in despair, his hands covering his face. “Oh, no, no, no!” “We were so stupid!” he moaned. "Now I may have killed Angie!"

___________________________

Jason was Jason Bilheimer who came down from Detroit to spend the summer with his grandmother. Grandma Shirley had moved into a small house across the street from Bobby Dale’s family just months before. Bobby Dale was pleased when he found out that Jason was nine years old, the same age as he. Their age and size were about the only common ground for Bobby Dale, the dark haired, brown-eyed southerner and Jason, the blond, blue-eyed northerner, but after only a couple of hours, the two boys felt like they had known each other all their lives. By the end of the summer, the boys were as close as two friends could be.

Two morose boys sat at a picnic table in Grandma Shirley’s backyard. Jason would be going back to Detroit in a couple of days, and they were dreading the separation.

There’s an old song my grandaddy used to sing to me when I left his house,” Bobby Dale teared up. “It’s called ‘I miss you already and you’re not even gone.’ I can’t remember who it’s by. Some country singer, I think.”

“It must be old, because I’ve never heard of it,” Jason responded sadly, “I can’t hardly wait ‘til next summer.” Jason was already beginning to pick up Bobby Dale's southern brogue.

“Me, too, I wish we were brothers,” Bobby Dale said wistfully. He dreaded being lonesome for a friend his own age. His baby sister was still too young to be any fun, and besides, she was just an old girl.

“I know how we can always be brothers!” Jason exclaimed in his childish soprano. “We can do like the Indians and be blood brothers.”

Bobby Dale watched as Jason pulled a shiny pen knife from his pocket. He noticed for the first time several thin scars on Jason’s small wrist. “How many times have you done this?” he asked.

“Just a couple or three,” Jason replied. He opened the knife and deftly made a shallow cut across his left wrist.

“Does it hurt?” Bobby Dale asked, staring at the beads of blood oozing from the slit in Jason’s skin.

“Nah, just a scratch. It stings a little bit at first. You just gotta bring blood, that’s all.” Bobby Dale’s pupils dilated in fear. Jason said, “Don’t be a baby.”He handed Bobby Dale the knife and said, “Your turn.”

Still skeptical but determined to please his friend, Bobby Dale took the knife and, before he could lose his nerve, dragged the freshly blooded blade across his wrist. “Ouch, it stings, ” he said.

Jason extended his arm, and Bobby Dale reached out and placed his bleeding wrist against the fresh cut on Jason’s wrist.

“Now we are blood brothers forever,” Jason said.

_______________________

Jason never came back. His parents got a divorce, and Grandma Shirley moved to Detroit to be near him and his mother. A few years later, someone said that Jason had gotten sick and died, but Bobby Dale didn’t know why. Until now.

Two little boys innocently sealing a friendship. Life isn’t always fair.

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Comments 24 comments

lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Great story MizB, a sad story of the ignorance of youth and consequences. There is a powerful message in this story. You wrote it beautifully. Voted up and awesome.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

Thanks, Linda. I have tried to delete it and republish it because something has gone wrong with the publishing. It may not be here tomorrow, so I appreciate your comment today. Maybe I can get HP to straighten it out for me. I hate to start all over. Anyway, I always appreciate your comments.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 4 years ago

Wow, what a story! and how very sad. It immediately brought to mind the time my best friend, Sally's Trove, and I wanted to be blood sisters. Neither of us had a sister, so we decided we had a great idea. Fortunately, we were both scaredy cats, and couldn't bring ourselves to cut ourselves, so we did the next best thing. We each wrote something and buried it under a broken piece of the cement sidewalk. I think we may have also buried some lucky stones as well. A very scary thought that things could have turned out so differently and tragically. We are best friends to this day and sometimes still reflect on our act of innocence that, as you've written, could have turned horribly wrong.

Voted up!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

I am happy to say that this story was strictly a figment of my imagination. Sometimes I write based on something I heard or know, but not this one. I can't remember if I ever blood-sistered anyone, but that would have been long before the days of HIV and AIDs. Your little ceremony with your special friend sounds very spiritual and very special. I would not have thought of doing something like that. Thanks for reading and voting it up!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Wow, Mixbejabbers, what a Story...More Fact then Fiction. It really could happen to anyone, and as Innocently as your story shows. A Very Powerful read. Thanks for Enlightening and Informing.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

I love writing fiction. I can make the characters do anything I want them to do. Thanks B. for reading.


mpropp profile image

mpropp 4 years ago from Minnesota

Very well written story with an interesting twist. I knew there was a reason (other than being a wimp) that I never wanted to cut myself and be blood sisters with any one! You're a great writer, I enjoyed this a lot.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

Thank you for the encouragement. I am looking forward to the day that I can become a full-time, write-what-I-please writer. That's the day I become financially independent from retirement, of course.


Skarlet profile image

Skarlet 4 years ago from California

Great job MizBejabbers!

Very sad of course, but a scenario I have often thought about. I believe that "sleeping around" is encouraged in modern society and have often gotten into debates with people on the subject. I believe that being intimate with someone is serious business and this backs that fact up!

voted up!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

Right! Nowadays one never knows where that person has been or what he/she has been doing. HIV takes several years to show up sometimes, too, and a person can infect someone before he/she knows that he/she is infected. That is sad. Kids can be so innocent, though, and I wanted to write a warning somehow to the "innocent" ones. Thanks for the comment and the vote up.


KT Banks profile image

KT Banks 4 years ago from Texas

I took the time to read it twice, and then read all the comments. I still have tears in my eyes. What a story. It has so many depths to it. Great job! Voted Up an more and will glad to share it.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

Thank you so much, KT. I really appreciate you and your vote and share.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well I'm certainly glad I stopped by for this one. Great story my friend; a tragic story but it carries a great message and no, life is not always fair...but it does treat everyone equally. :) Wonderful hub!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

Thanks, Billybuc. I'm so glad you stopped by. I have several more similar to this, but I'm not sure what I want to do with them. I guess I'm just testing the waters with what I put on HP.


Life Iz Beautiful profile image

Life Iz Beautiful 4 years ago from India

A great story dear webbed around a greater social problem. Nicely framed and intriguingly cut characters.

voted awesome.

have a great day ahead....:)


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 years ago Author

Thank you, LIB, I was just having one of those "what if" moments. I guess we never know what we are getting, even in the people we love and trust. Thanks for the vote, too


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

MizB, a very sad story, I was looking for the miracle ending.

I could not stop reading this and was surprised at the way it ended. Was it a true story?


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 3 years ago Author

Shyron, I'm so sorry for the delay in replying. Somehow this got lost in a bunch of computer problems. No, thank goodness this is a figment of my imagination. I got to thinking one day about how a person who is exposed to HIV at first doesn't know that he or she is positive and can infect others innocently -- and that it is so easy that even a child can do it. Thank you for reading and commenting.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

I am glad this is not a true story. I can't imagine finding out that one is HIV and thinking that it came from a loved one.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 3 years ago Author

Me too!


beatboxer profile image

beatboxer 3 years ago from Scotland

A really good story dealing with some big issues. I enjoyed reading it, the sad ending made it all the more powerful for me.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 14 months ago Author

Beatboxer, I'm so sorry I never replied, but for some reason your nice comment caught as Spam. A belated thank you for your comment.


yecall profile image

yecall 9 months ago from California

I love your creativity and detailed hubs. Beautiful work.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 9 months ago Author

Thank you, Yecall, I hope time will allow me to publish more.

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