The Last Kiss Episode 13 is running…
THE LAST KISS
Alicia’s tears fall unchecked.
She cannot believe what she is reading.
Ekow has created the WhatsApp group the very first time Alicia had talked to him about it. He named it “PLWHA (short for People Living with HIV/AIDS) Rock 2’.
It started with just Alicia, Ekow and Selina.
Ekow added a girl called Nana Afua in the course of the week.
And now they are ten in number with the elderly couple a part too.
They all agreed to meet once a week to share experiences, fears, questions and anything members wanted to share with the group.
Ekow shares inspirational texts and jokes frequently.
Alicia shares updates on HIV/AIDS research and touching stories from across the globe on how people with HIV are making it.
At their first meeting Alicia had told them her journey so far. She had started from the beginning to the end and members cried with her as her story unfolded.
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Alicia made it clear at their first meeting that members should not feel like they had to share their story if they were not ready to.
Two meetings came and went and no one else gave his/her story but every member was active and Alicia was grateful for that.
It is an hour to their fourth meeting.
Alicia has seen a long post from Ekow and has wondered what it might be. He has sent it to her privately.
His message reads:
“Good Evening, fellow PLWHA’s.
My name is Ekow Styles.
I am seventeen years old.
Well, I’m sure most of you have wondered how I got this dreadful disease. This is my story.
I lost my mother when I was six months old. Hold it, my mother is not dead ooo.
She decided to leave me when I was just a baby. At the time, my Dad had lost his job and couldn’t take the hardships. She left me with my Dad and vamoosed into thin air.
I was shipped off to the village for my grandmother to raise me.
I didn’t really see much but life was not that easy in the village.
Sometimes what to eat was a big problem.
When I turned five, my grandmother passed.
Since there was no one else to take care of me in the village, my Dad was forced to come for me. I forgot to mention that I wasn’t his favourite person. The problem between us was that I looked exactly like my mother and I was sure he got angry every time he saw me because of the way my mother handled herself.
Back in Accra I was put in a boarding school and had every good thing at my disposal except a father’s love. Eventually, God sent an angel my way in the person of my step mother. She was able to convince my Dad to pull me out of the boarding school until I entered SHS.
I met this crazy senior who called himself Satan’s Advocate (Popularly called SA) and he didn’t like me from the very first time he set his eyes on me. He told me I resembled his enemy and that he was going to make sure my life was a living hell.
I got punished by him a lot of times for no reason. He sought me out every day to say or do something inhumane to me. Once I made a mistake and reported him to the new housemaster and I almost lost my life for it. The guy was a terror and everyone including the teachers were scared of him.
If I had any confidence left before I entered SHS, it was completely gone by the time the first term in form one was over.
I didn’t tell my parents, especially my stepmom because she went to great lengths to secure the school for me. I also thought it would pass in no time.
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One night, I was fast asleep when I felt a splash of water on me. I woke drenched from a bucket of water that had been poured on me by SA’s front men. The reason for all that was their Boss sent for me. I was pulled out of bed and dragged all the way to his cubicle. By the time we got to his cubicle, my teeth were clattering and my whole body shivering from the cold.
There were about five boys in the tiny cubicle. Various scents from cigarettes and other substances assailed my nose causing me to sneeze three times in a row.
There seem to be a boy from each class of the school but I was the only fresher present. The mission was simple. It was some kind of initiation into SA’s fold. I shook my head and cried my heart out just for them to leave me alone but it seemed the more I resisted, the more they hurt me. I had no choice but give in.
A syringe was used to dredge up some concoction from a bowl. I was held whiles the lethal weapon containing only God knows what, was injected into my veins after SA injected himself and the others with about three quarters of the syringe’s contents.
I didn’t see much afterwards. Later, I woke up in a hospital and rumours had spread that I had overdosed on hard drugs and passed out.
My own father believed those lies and refused to talk to me.
My health deteriorated quickly after the incident.
I could hardly stay in school as people called me names and mouthed unthinkable things every time I passed.
I tried to convince my Dad for a school change but he appeared not to have heard me. He told me I made my bed so I should lie in it. I was able to get through to my stepmom and she tried taking the matter up with the school authorities but no one came forward to testify against SA because of fear.
She eventually pulled me out of the school and got me another one. Because of the drug incident that was written in bold in my testimonial, the new school required an HIV/AIDS test among others. I had gladly taken the test and looked forward to putting the past behind me and starting afresh in the new school as a day student.
The rest you know!”
Alicia can’t help but weep for the teenage boy.
Alicia wipes her tears as she types a response to Ekow’s post.
She’s never been this sad, ever.
She can feel the young man’s frustrations and fears.
She now understands why he mostly keeps to himself.
He has developed some shell around him to hide the inferior complex vibes he’s battling with.
So sorry for you Ekow. I’m honoured you shared this with me. I want you to know that I believe you and if ever you need anything, anyone, anytime, I will be here for you. I know it is difficult but you have to try and live above this. Let me ask you this, what was your career options before all this happened?
Thanks for believing in me. It means a lot. I’ve always wanted to be a Computer Analyst.
And now, what do you want to be?
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Nothing. Just waiting for death to come knocking at my door.
What’s stopping you from being a Computer Analyst? You don’t have to give up.
It’s easier said than done, ma’am. For one thing, the school is reluctant to admit me because of the HIV positive status. There’s also the possibility I will die soon so what’s the point in wasting the resources.
I know just how you feel but all is not lost. We are not dead yet. We need to make the most of the time we have and make a difference. I want to be remembered as an HIV patient who stopped at nothing in achieving her dreams in life. I want to be remembered as someone who gave it a try even when the odds were against her.
Will it not be nice to be remembered as someone who never gave up? As for the school, if they remain adamant we can take them on legally. That’s what this group is about. To ensure we are not victimized because of our condition. Please don’t give up otherwise you would have allowed SA or whatever they call him to win.
Hmmm. Now you sound like my stepmom. She is an incredible person. It really shatters me to see her worried and scared for me. She has this crazy idea I might kill myself so she’s always paying people to watch me.
I don’t believe in suicide. It’s for cowards. She has already threatened the school with a legal battle and it looks like she’s winning. I received the admission letter and started school but it’s not easy. It’s as if they’ve told the whole school about my status and people just stare and avoid me wherever I go.
I’ve skipped school for some time now.
Do I feel you are giving up? Please don’t. Together, let’s make things work for us. We should not allow HIV to define us. We are bigger than that. By the way, what happened to SA and his gang?
My stepmom reported the incident to the police when I tested positive and they were rounded up for testing. They were all positive. Further charges were levelled against SA when some boys came forward to report sexual abuse. Two of his gang members are willing to testify against him for their freedom. He is behind bars for now.
Curtis walks into the living room looking handsome as ever. He is on his way to meet with Kobby, his childhood friend.
He takes a long look at Alicia and sees the unshed tears in her eyes.
“Is everything okay. Ally?”
“I’m okay. Ekow just shared his story and it really opened my tear bags. It’s really sad.”
“Hmmm. Life, I know, is not fair. Are you sure you will be alright by yourself? I can reschedule the meeting with Kobby, if I have to!”
“No. that won’t be necessary, my Romeo. Remember he said it was a matter of life and death. I will be here when you get back. Try and have some fun, you deserve it.”
He sits beside her and kisses her briefly.
Alicia sees him off to his car and waits for him to drive out and then goes back inside.
She sees Ekow has shared his story on the main group platform and everyone is showing icons for crying.
There is a long inactivity on the platform and then the well wishes start to pour in.
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