Friday, January 19, 2007

Beyond the Pale

I do not have AIDS.

I know this because I got tested this summer, even though statistically and demographically, the odds that I would ever contract H.I.V. are very low. Still, during the time I waited for the results- and I didn’t get back to the clinic for almost two months for various reasons, but mostly forgetfulness- I would occasionally experience a sudden, temporary paralysis whenever the possibility crossed my mind.

The plagues of old were insidious, true, sneaking from hand to hand, cheek to cheek, and slipping through rudimentary public water systems. Typhoid, hepatitis and E. coli boiled in shallow wells and rats in the reeking cities carried bubonic Yersinia pestis across indefensible thresholds. But there's something unspeakably more horrifying about a communicable virus that lurks, incubated in our own blood.

But now that I know I am safe, I am unwilling to let anything compromise that comfort. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypothermia, a slip on a banana peel- these causes de la mort I can't control. That devious virus I can. And there is some comfort in that.


Blogger A said...

I should point out that I didn't get tested because I thought I had it. It was free, and they said everybody should. So I did. There you go.

January 20, 2007 at 6:06 PM  

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