No. 4 (BONUS)
from "For What I Hate I Do."
On a quiet
Saturday in December, I felt the world riding on my shoulders.
I was looking for strength to express my dilemma to my mother,
who was sitting at the kitchen table.
out with the usual: How was your day going? Is the job working
out? Are you seeing anyone? Are you staying clean and sober?
mom. I’m OK,” I said. But she still sensed something
wrong? You didn’t relapse did you, Miguel?”
momma. I didn’t.” That was the truth.
why aren’t you eating? Why the loss of appetite.”
nerves.” I, of course, lied this time.
it that bad?” she asked, grabbing my right hand to comfort
what is it?” She was getting tired of the guessing game.
I took a deep breath.
remember when I was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen Recovery
Center months back?”
they took all sorts of tests like psychoanalysis, IQ and general
physicals. Some years ago, I knew a guy who was diagnosed
with HIV, which can cause AIDS. The reason I know this is
because he was my roommate, and we shared some personal things
with each other. But anyway, he was wondering how he was going
to break the news to his parents. So I suggested that he should
wait awhile until he was positively sure about his lab results.”
what happened?” she asked with a puzzled look.
his test was positive. I was scared for him because of misconceptions
about the disease, the ignorance out there, the fear that
some people have concerning the virus,” I said, not
looking her in the eyes.
why are you telling me this? I don’t understand,”
she said, obviously frightened. “What’s wrong,
honey? Can you answer me?”
don’t know when I got it. It was months ago when I was
can lie dormant for years before it even reveals any symptoms
or damage to the immune system,” I said.
silent for a while and then had questions I didn’t want
you taking medicine?”
not, Miguel?” she asked in a panicked state.
I’m not feeling sick or anything,” I said, realizing
you’re gonna wait until you start feeling sick to start
taking medicine? What’s wrong with you? Are you trying
to kill yourself?” she asked angrily through her tears.
“I don’t mean to pry, but I have to ask you this.
I’ve noticed in the past that you spend a lot of time
with men, Miguel. Are you gay? You can tell me. Are you?”
not gonna lie to you. I’ve been experimenting,”
I said, feeling uncomfortable answering the question.
why? You are such a handsome man. Any woman would love to
be with you. Why men, Miguel? I don’t understand. What
is wrong with you?” she asked.
like women, too, momma. Sometimes my hormones just go crazy,
and I can’t resist the feeling.”
don’t understand, baby. I think you’re just confused.
That’s all. I didn’t raise any of my sons to believe
that way. How did this happen?”
just did, momma. I didn’t plan this behavior. I knew
about these feelings for a long time. I just suppressed them
so I could try to live normal. I’m tired of lying to
myself. Maybe I’m suffering from neurosis or something.”
None of my children are neurotic. Stubborn maybe. So, don’t
talk like that ever again.”
stood and embraced. I needed a hug like there was no tomorrow
– a motherly hug.
tested again,” she whispered softly. “I love you.”
walked off toward her bedroom, probably to pray and to soak
in what she had just learned about me.