love and HIV

what do you do if you are faced with it?

 

“Ruth and Austin were very good friends on campus. They got to know each other because they both, coincidently, on many occasions sat together during one of their selective courses in their first year of study on campus. Ruth was studying microbiology, while Austin was studying pharmacy. Their friendship grew to an extent that they became well known on campus. They were seen together more often than not. Even on Sundays they go to church together.  She had converted Austin and made him join her fellowship. Austin on the other hand, made her follow him to reading classes. During holidays, they usually visit and attend places of interest, which includes beaches, theatres, and music concerts, among others. It became difficult for to tell, if they were lovers, just friends or brother and sister. People admire their cooperation and it was difficult for those around them to believe that friendship or love could be so beautiful. Oh!!! What a beauty that is so rare to witness on this plane of existence. Although, their parents had not known or met each other, yet they often ask after each other through their children, because of the friendship that existed between their children.

Ruth got to her final year of study, while Austin had a year more to complete his study. This could be their point of separation, although they knew that they could always get in touch with each other. Yet, it was certain that they might no longer see each other on daily bases or even in weeks. It is a stage all true lovers do not wish to reach because although distance may not be a real threat to all true lovers. But there is always the need of being careful when distance is about to come in between lovers. That night Austin does not know what to do or say. He asked her, “What would you do when you graduate?” she smiled and answered, “Well, I shall look for a good job or may start my own laboratory and business. However, I can possibly go for a master degree. You know there are a lot of things out there waiting for me. It depends on making the right choice in life.” “You didn’t talk about getting married, don’t you have that in your plans?” she was silent for some time. It was obvious that she was sad and she thought of some thing, which nobody knew what. Then she exhaled deeply and answered, “I have not thought about it but when the time comes, I would know how to handle it.” “What do you mean by handling it?” he asked astonishingly. It was clear by her mode that she would rather not talk about marriage. She managed to answer, “There is time for everything and I am not thinking about marriage at this time.” He felt sorry for bring up the issue but he knew that it could be the most important thing they could ever talk about. So he continued, “I know that, I would miss your company when you graduate. And I know that I could not bear it. I mean, I would like to graduate with you, so that I could be with you always. We had shared many good and bad times together that it is now a tradition for us to always be together. I don’t know, if I could watch you get married to another man. Won’t it be a sin for us to stop being together?” “What do you mean? We shall always be friends because we have come a long way together.”  “That is why I want to beg you that you wait for me.” “What do you mean, ‘wait for you’? Don’t you want me to graduate with my colleagues?” she asked in laughter. But he still continued seriously, “I mean you wait for me, for marriage.” There was a long silence before he added, “we shall not be complete, if I fail to marry you. I would love to marry you.” At that comment Ruth stood up immediately and ran to her hostel, without saying a word to him. He stood there wondering, if he had made a wrong comment. He wondered, if he had used the wrong words. He could not figure out , why she behaved so unusual that night but he knew that he had never told her, ‘ I love you’ or used any romantic words to her. They were just naturally friends that understood and respect each others feelings. He made various efforts to get close to her again, as they had always been. But she avoided him with skills. However, one Sunday, as they finished their church service, he stood around and waited for her because she was delaying, thinking he would leave without her. “Why are you avoiding me since the other night? Don’t you like what I said?” he asked her, immediately he saw her. “ I don’t like what you said and should had known that, I did not want to talk about marriage.” “ I am sorry,” he apologized, “ but the truth is that I love you. I know you know that I love you. I would like to marry you. Today is a Sunday and I can’t lie to you. You know I never told you a lie, so why can’t you help me and lets share our friendship forever.” She looked at him and it was clear that he spoke frankly from his heart. “ you said, you love me.” “ yes,” he answered immediately without a second thought. “ for how long would you love me? Would it be just for here and today, for weeks or years? Please tell.” “ I know I would love you forever,” he sincerely said with tears. She could not hold her feelings back any longer, so she said, “ it is clear that we are best friends and I love you more than you would imagine. I would be happy to spend the rest of my life with you. But for the sake of the love I have for you, I better don’t marry you. No!! not you and maybe not even any other man,” she explained as tears rolled down her cheek. He could not believe it nor understood why she made such comment. “Please, why are you sounding this way? What is the problem? What have I done to you that you don’t believe in men or in love any more?” he asked nervously. She wiped away her tears, before saying, “you did nothing to me. I was waiting for the right time to tell you that I just discovered such weeks back that I am HIV positive and I don’t know how much time I have to live. But the most important thing is that I don’t want you or any other man to be infected by me. I am sorry, we just have to be friends and not couples.” He was speechless. One could tell he was lost because he had to choose between love and HIV. She asked him, “ are you all right? I know that it would be hard for you that was why I needed a perfect time to tell you about it.” “  No!!! I am searching for my world, which you think you can take away from me. In my world is where my true happiness, joy, and hope can be found. My life would be worthless without my world. Truly there would be no difference between life and death, if I do not marry you. Ruth you are my world. Please, let me marry you so that I can find life because in you is where my life can only be found. Above all , I would never forgive myself, if I deny you the happiness and joy of a family because of your HIV status. No, not now that I had asked for. I am willing to carry the cross with you, just permit,” he begged crying. “ what about our children? I don’t even know how I got infected. It seems I got it from birth or how else would I be a victim of it. You know of my chastity. I would not want innocent children to be victims. Please, don’t do it for my sake or for the sake of our love.” “ there will be no problem, we can adopt children. All I want is to share my life with you. We will be happy together and nothing would take our joy from us. Not the world or the fear of death. Lets teach the world the virtues of true love, that stands till the end of time.” She started crying, so he walked closer to her and held her, “ what is it?” he asked. “ it is difficult to believe that you love me this much and you are willing to give you life just for the sake of spending a life time with me. You have given me hope, courage, and confident to live on in a difficult world of diverse reasoning.”

They both graduated in due time and got married. They were successful in their professions, so money was not a problem. Unfortunately, Ruth got pregnant and she did not want to abort the baby, so she gave birth to a twin, a boy, and a girl. They little innocent children were HIV negative, nobody could explain their joy or how it happened. They are still happily married and their marriage had overcome all the gates of hell. It was a marriage that started from a peaceful and admirable friendship. The question still goes , is Ruth truly HIV positive or she used it to test Austin’s love for her?  We may not know the answer but we know that we should give such victims the hope, confidence, and reasons to live on. Austin had done what many of us may never do. Yet, nobody is asking us to do such; all they want is our love, care, kindness and support to live on.

Then for couples or lovers, I would say when ever we say to each other, “ I love you.” Our next question should be “for how long would you love me?” this question may be important especially now that most lovers and marriages end in hell” those that have read my book “ it is time we truly know why Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus”  ISBN NO: 978-1-4389-2326-0 (SC) OR 978-1-4389-2327-7 (HC)  can remember the story I was told by an unseen being and we all can be a part of the story.

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