the day i found out
Leo May 18, 2010
“the day I found out…”
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The day I found out, everything felt numb. Still. Frozen fingertips and windowsills.
It was the thin of my t-shirt and black pants, the way I felt the cold winter wind.
It was one community clinic without an appointment.
Heavy and unexpected, like the slow pace of Nurse Nadine's voice as she held a pen and asked me questions.
As the floors lied wet with Polish, walls tainted in the color of white, air weighed down by the smell of sanitizer.
Everything around us was quiet.
Caught in the silence of complete desperation.
The day I found out was nothing more then twenty minutes and a test strip.
A scarlet marking that read positive. One single faint red line.
I knew it was coming but still couldn’t speak.
Still couldn't find words or reason.
Just felt lost in the quiet. In the numb.
In that memory.
The only place in Delaware that felt like home was with a woman whose bloodline never matched mine.
My God mom, Mom Dean, well into her 40s and hurting from disability- opened her home to five others and me.
She wore a wig, spoke of faith, and made enough soul food to feed fifty.
The day I found out, Mom Dean held me like the mother I should have had if she hadn’t disowned me.
Loveless. But Mom Dean held me Like the father I would have stood next to if he hadn't overdosed and ended his own life.
She held me like I needed it, like she wanted to. She prayed. Wiped my eyes and said she knew a lot of people that had it.
Said there was no reason to give up on myself.
But That night
I saw a knife, I saw its sharp blade and its luster.
I imagined the way its edge might cut.
I imagined the way misery might become bliss. Like if I placed it to my stomach, like if I caught it in my heart.
Like nothing mattered. Nothing made sense, just one hand holding one cigarette.
Just one Hand to mouth and mouth to hand. Just inhaled heavy,
and tried to breathe in life after taking in the thought of death.
Everything was about leaving then.
Leaving Delaware for San Francisco.
Leaving to forget the year I spent in bed with a man who lied to me.
Wanting to forget the innocent memories, the way the daytime light hit the brown of his eyes and the blue crystal of mine, the way I called it love because my body shivered like solitude when he wasn't home.
Everything became about leaving then.
It came down to me with no money and a one-way greyhound bus ticket.
It came down to the way he didn't say good-bye the day I left because he was too busy trying to find god.
It came down to four days on a bus and not feeling like I had any family or friends to confide in. It came down to love and trust wearing itself thin.
It comes down to this, Five months of living with a diagnosis.
This, life and living.
This need to find a new beginning. This search, and newfound hope. This in-between of stalled breaths and slow blinks.
Daydreams and desires. Of wanting life to grasp me by the limbs, by the face, and by the heart.
Of not wanting to let my life, my love, my body became gray and faceless.
Everything has become this, me at 22 learning to not be ashamed of who I am.
Learning not to apologize for everything I have lived.
This is me remembering, Nurse Nadine, Mom Dean, the hotel room we shared that I called home.
Life is just this. Unexpected and true.
Pain and love, a series of minutes and hours that make a life driven by daydreams
Of family and friends
Of passion and coincidence.
Of meanings and questions.
Life is just this. A past set in the past and a future that is endless.
The day I found out became the day I learned that life is just this.
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