I met Shanice was by chance, I was early in the office and did not have my key. She allowed me to wait in her office. As women, it’s never hard to strike a conversation and hence we got talking. We laughed a bit and she told me of her job duties; polite and humble: sweet and conversational: when my key arrived it was hard leaving her office.
I passed by her office almost daily after that; borrowed flask to get hot coffee, borrowed salt for my French fries, borrowed the newspaper. In a very short time we striked a good friendship and talked of our present predicaments and future ambitions.
Then! She hit me with the revelation.
I remember being tongue tied for a while; I had considered myself one of the more liberal ones. I prided myself in running the course against discrimination. I had trained as a peer counselor advocating for the same not so long ago, I could not understand why I was so hit with this information.
When I got past the shock, I realized that Sabrina wanted someone to listen, someone to connect to, someone who will not look at her from a lens spelling disease. She shared her stories and experiences with me, her pain and her strength was profound in our conversations. Her own mother has abandoned her and looked at her different after she told her status. So much so they could not leave together anymore. Her boyfriend had abandoned her shortly after realizing she was one of the untouchables.
The one thing that made me really connect with her was the fact that she had a little one whom she was so scared of finding out if she too had part of her DNA messed up. Though she is taking all the measures to keep her safe she cannot get herself to go to go to a centre.
Ironical that right now the mother and child are living for each other, questions stand unanswered. Who knows if both are PLWA (people living with AIDS)?
I bridge the gap and hold her hand, I listen. Troubles shared are half solved you know! I call her, send her an e mail to show that I am there, and pass through her office. Because all she need is to know there is someone routing for he!
Take action! This post was submitted in response to My Story: Holding Hands.