The Last Kiss Episode 12 is rolling…
THE LAST KISS
The morning sun has just come up.
The wind is whistling softly and the sky looks like it holds a promise and for some reason Alicia seem to have gotten her groove back.
She walks briskly to her car and unlocks it.
She hurriedly gets in and ensure her seat belt is secured.
Calmly, she turns on the car tape and flips through the music collection on the pen drive and selects her favourite artist. She puts the engine on and hums her way out of the plush compound of her workplace.
She has decided not to dwell so much on what should have been but to focus on her reality and make the best out of it.
Her family, especially Curtis and Naa has taken a keen interest in helping her do just that. She promises herself she was going to live like nothing has changed.
She is going to go through life the way she planned it for as long as she has to live.
And she is going to dedicate her life at making her household happy and help people living with HIV.
She arrives at the hospital a couple of minutes later.
She enters the waiting room of Dr. Gerald Okai.
Selina, the young mother and the young man are already there together with an elderly couple.
The man will be in his late sixties. Alicia pegs his companion around her late fifties or early sixties.
This is the first time she has come alone. She feels exposed for the first time.
Curtis has a very crucial meeting he couldn’t reschedule. He heads the Salaries and Wages Section of the biggest Multinational Company in Ghana. He is not only intelligent but very determined. Basically, he registered with ACCA as soon as he entered the University and by the time he graduated, he had chartered. He was able to complete his Masters in Finance a few months after National Service.
Thoughts of Curtis always warms her heart but somewhere deep down in her heart, she feels he is too sweet to be bothered with an HIV positive wife at such a young age. He’s been her rock in this most difficult time of her life.
The incident at the gulf house worries her a bit. Every time she remembers it, she sees Curtis’ friends faces when the truth was told. They had all looked at Curtis as if he is crazy staying with an HIV-infected person.
It was the first time they had parted without Curtis’s friends giving her a hug. Not long ago, these same guys would be striving to be the first to hug her just to get at Curtis who hated that very much.
But she has put that behind her and is moving on.
She has come to realize that most people who hear about her condition cut ties completely with her.
Alicia takes the seat beside the young boy and greets again.
“Good morning! “
“I’m Alicia, “
“I was wondering if I can talk to you for a minute or two after our session today. I need your advice on something. ” Alicia supplies.
“I don’t think I can help you.”
“You hear me out first, please.”
Nurse Cecilia pops out to summon the next person and Ekow leaves for his consultation.
Alicia pleads with him with her eyes just before he vanishes into the consulting room.
Selina is alone this time around.
“Where’s my good friend today?”
“In school. I had no choice than take her. My husband has filed for divorce and custody of the child when he heard the baby was HIV negative. The up and down was becoming too much and I thought it would be wise for her to be in school.”
“Wow, that’s very selfish of your husband.”
“He’s doing that to get back at me. I made them fish him out with sermons from Social Welfare on grounds of neglect and battery.”
“I see. Then I wish you the best in the lawsuit.”
“Thanks. I’m sure my Lawyer won’t let me down. Mavis Adjei, is an experienced lawyer. She came highly recommended and I have total confidence that she will do a great job.”
“That’s good to know. I was wondering about something; do you think it would help if we have a group or something for people living with HIV/AIDS to meet regularly to share ideas and experiences?”
“That would be a wonderful idea, my dear. I personally would love that. I feel so angry in all this. Most times I’m so angry I feel like murdering someone. All it takes is a little self-control but our men are so insensitive they back up every tree they meet on their way.” the elderly woman replied with sarcasm and pain in her voice.
The elderly man looks bashed but says nothing.
“I agree it would be a wonderful idea too. Sometimes you feel so low talking to someone who truly understands you will definitively help.”
Ekow walks into the waiting room a few minutes later and looks shyly around.
One can tell he is a man of few words or he has recoiled due to his present situation. He is always in a hoodie, as if he’s trying to hide from someone or something.
It is the look in his eyes the first time Alicia met him that got her attention. Alicia saw a lost boy in there. Someone who was having a hard time dealing with the fact that he is HIV positive.
Alicia walks out with him and smiles nervously.
She has promised herself since the first meeting to get to him any how she could just to bring him out a bit. She did not like the hopelessness she saw in those beautiful eyes of his.
“Thanks for coming back as requested. I really appreciate that. There’s this wild idea I have about putting together a group for people living with HIV/AIDS. I believe we all need each other since most of our friends and family are deserting us because of our condition.”
“I wanted to know your views on my idea.”
“I think you have a good idea. But that can only work if people living with the disease are willing to talk to others about it. Finding out you are HIV positive is so disturbing that one loses his whole being. It’s like been handed a death sentence, you know. You just live till it finally kills you.” Ekow supplies.
“Yea, I know the feeling but I think we can still achieve our goals in life if we don’t allow the situation to cripple us. We need to forge on and sensitize people about the disease to tone down the stigmatization we are facing. We need a voice for those who get mistreated because they are diagnosed HIV positive. Indeed, we need to stay together if we are to be heard. We can’t do it individually, but together we can make it happen.”
“Well that sounds good but I think we should start off with a WhatsApp group or something like that. Most people are very expressive when they hide behind a computer or any other device for that matter. When that picks up them we can have physical meetings if we deem it necessary. That’s my thoughts.”
“I think it’s brilliant. We need to build people’s confidence in themselves first and then we take it from there. We will think of those who are uneducated to use any device in due course. Thank you so much for sharing your vivid ideas with me. I knew you are a gem.”
Ekow smiles weakly and bids her goodbye and sets off to leave.
“If you wouldn’t mind, I can drop you off somewhere when I’m done. I need to take your number too should it happen that we set up the WhatsApp group before our next meeting.”
“I’m fine with the ride. My stepmom would be picking me up in a few. You can hand me your card then we will take it from there.”
Alicia hands him her business card and thanks him again for his dazzling views. She did not fail to realize that Ekow seem a bit relieved after their little talk. She heads back to the waiting room and waits her turn.
The elderly couple were in the Consulting Room for a long time.
Obviously, the wife was at her nagging best that day.
Alicia gatheres it is their first time and understood why they had to be there for a long while. She makes a mental note to take the woman’s number the next time they meet.
Alicia feels at peace with herself as she enters the Consulting Room of Dr. Okai.
The doctor is neatly dressed as usual and is wearing his usual smile every time Alicia had seen him. She reckons he wear the smile for all his patients.
Alicia has come to know him as a very passionate person who goes the extra mile to assuage the worries of his patients. He is always pleasant with his utterances and seem to love what he does for a living.
“You are glowing today, Doc!” Alicia says and takes the seat facing him.
“I was going to say the same about you. I must admit you are very observant, today is my wedding anniversary and I must look sharp for my wife. We are eating out after my shift here today.!”
“Thank you, dear. Now, let’s turn our attention to you. How have you been?”
“So, so! One time I feel on top of the world and another time I feel my life is ending. The headaches and nausea from the medications have lessened too. Apart from the emotional turmoil that plagues me from time to time, I must say I’m pretty cool.”
Dr. Okai goes over her lab tests and confirms the medications are working well.
He explains that her viral load was at an all-time low that he is sure if she were to test for HIV, she will pass it. He clarifies that it did not mean she was no longer HIV positive but that the medications are really working. And then he advises her to keep taking them as prescribed.
He enquires about the effect of her situation on their marriage and if it has affected their intimacy.
Alicia talks highly about the immense support she is receiving from her husband, friend and family. He confesses to the doctor that she is always scared she could infect Curtis and that makes things a bit difficult for her.
Dr. Okai assures her it was normal to feel scared during their intimate times and admonished that they take all the precautions to prevent a possible infection.
Dr. Okai pulls an envelope from her folder and opens it.
“It looks like we’ve put a nail on the possible source of your infection. When you mentioned the blood transfusion, our team of experts got busy and tracked down the donor. It was pretty difficult since he had moved places a couple of times. Our team found out that he was a regular donor at the hospital since he was blood type 0 positive. The hospital has not heard from him in a year or so. They finally tracked him down to Koforidua and convinced him to test for the disease. It came out positive. The guy didn’t even know he was a carrier.”
“Wow, that is really serious. I can just imagine how many he has infected through blood donations and of course sex.”
“Yes, it’s very serious.”
Alicia is however relieved that at long last, the source of her problem has been identified. She feels it is a lot easier when you tell people you are HIV positive and tell them how you got it.
She has been convinced Richie might have infected her that is why she has not heard from him since their last meeting.
Alicia is also very sad.
All her life she has lived cautiously. Trying to be the best in everything. She had taken all the precautions there was and yet she is saddled with something that she never expected and all through a procedure that was supposed to save her life?
Dr. Okai hands her the appointment slip for her next consultation plus a prescription for her routine drugs.
Before she leaves the consulting room Dr. Okai indicates that since she is so in love with her husband, she should consider giving him a child. He tells her he will be more than willing to help them have HIV-negative children.
Alicia leaves the hospital with mixed feelings.