“Let’s get tested,” was the sanest thing I’d said all week. Surprisingly, he agreed.
We had just met a week ago, on a cruise amidst hundreds of folks who exuded black excellence, who also happened to also wear greek letters.
He was my friend Kim’s boyfriend’s prophyte. I’d met the entire chapter in my numerous visits to their school in a small Louisiana town, but I had never met him. Probably because he was far removed from all of the collegiate antics and away experiencing real life.
I was drunk off my ass, leaning and talking to him like he was familiar. Partially because this weeklong vacation to the Caribbean was in celebration of my 25th birthday, but mostly because I found out just a day prior to that the guy I thought I’d marry just couldn’t leave his ex-girlfriend alone.
I’m not one to drink much, but 24 was a whirlwind and I was determined to bring 25 in with a bang. A bang which consisted mostly of stashing a bottle of Jack Honey onto the boat and telling all my business to some frat boy I just met.
He didn’t judge though. He just listened through my incoherence and laughed at how my sorority sisters and I would wake up early and beat our faces just to stand on a beach and take pictures.
It was a crazy week. But now we were back on land and I had just driven four hours to see him. The same amount of time I would have driven to see my ex who I’d originally planned to spend my actual birthday with. It was all so sudden but I wasn’t ready to face the reality of being alone. So I agreed.
And then I asked.
It was a test really. I didn’t expect him to say yes. No other guy I’d ever asked ever did. Especially since he had only met me a week prior to. I half-way did it for shock value and half-way because I wasn’t sure what my ex had passed to me in his cheating and lies. So I hatched out this crazy idea to take an HIV test for our first date. Surprisingly, he agreed to it.
We found a free clinic that did HIV and STD testing and giggled our way through the cartoon pamphlets like teenagers in sex-ed. It was awkward but endearing.
His name was called. Then mine. We went our separate ways both secretly hoping to come out with the same joy we went in with.
The tester asked questions. Mostly very personal like, “Have you had unprotected sex?” or “Have you had sex with someone of the same sex?” or “Why did you decide to get tested today?” The last sting like a bumblebee in April.
I didn’t want to tell her I’d been stupid over some boy, who was sleeping with some other girl, who had probably been sleeping with some other boy. Or how I met some guy on a cruise, who’s a friend of a friend and I drove four hours for us to get tested together. But I did because somehow I felt honesty would allow me to release all of the emotions I was feeling.
She handed me a tissue, reminding me of how trash my ex was, and boasted that any man willing to get tested with me on the first date may be worth keeping around.
I smiled coyly. I had no intention of “keeping him around.” It was my birthday and I just didn’t want to be alone.
I went through the motions. I did the finger prick. The waiting while my heart fluttered. The sigh of relief when the results came back negative.
I walked out to meet my date with a smile on his face holding matching results.
Food and a movie just seemed right after that. Then a conversational walk in the park.
“You know you’re the first girl that ever asked me to get tested, ” he said.
I smiled and said, “You’re the first guy that ever said yes.”
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