By A. Yukiko
My life is messed up. I hear children screaming I just want to go outside and shut them up. I hear a siren from the fire station ridiculously telling people that it's 8 o'clock. I feel so depressed and don't wanna move.
Rika opened her eyes slowly and looked up at the ceiling. The body next her moved as well and the face came out from the blanket. It was warm and the sun shine is spotting us from the slit of curtain.
"You already awake?"
The body under the blanket said and the face came out of the blanket. It is a guy who has been a friend, including doing some more.
"No" I said. He holds her arm and took it under the blanket. She liked the way he treat her in the mellow morning. But she had to get started. She stood up and got something to drink.
Ring Ring Ring.
The phone rang. Rika stopped drinking mineral water from the bottle and got the mobile phone. However it was too late. She couldn't answer the phone. She opened the phone. She'd just bought a new mobile phone with a black and silver frame. It was a holding type mobile phone. The display showed who had just called.
"Yumi", her friend from senior high school. She closed the phone.
"You have to go." Rika told a guy in the bed. "I have to get ready for school."
"No, you don't have toc.."
"Yes I have to." Rika put blanket away.
"All right, I'll go."
"Good, I have to take shower now."
Rika went to bath room and started to take a shower. Rika heard him leaving the house.
It was around 8 o'clock when Rika came back from part time job. Rika works at a dentist's office after school and realized that she forgot to call Yumi back. Rika took out her mobile phone and pressed redial.
Yumi answered with three rings.
"Hello?" Rika said. But Yumi didn't say anything. Usually, Yumi is really high and start talking really fast when Rika calls her.
"What's up? Anything Ok with you? Sorry that I didn't call you back sooner."
"..can I go and visit you now?" Yumi said in a sad voice.
"Well, yeah, I mean, yeah of course."
"Thank you, see you later."
It was so wired that she would act like that. Even when she broke up with a guy, she was usually angry, not sad. Because she was usually the one who dumped people. Even when a guy dumped her, she usually thinks the guy was too stupid to not know her value.
Rika went to open the door. There was Yumi. Yumi was wearing a white long knit cardigan with a short black skirt and a light pink top with brown boots.
Yumi sat on the steps. There is about 30 cm gap and people can take off thier shoes and leave them there. Yume took off her boots. The back of her body seemed disappointed as if it she is going out for a job or something. It was so unusual. Yumi looked up Rika with her big eyes. Even thought she was Japanese, she had this natural brown eyes and hair. She didn't do any thing with her hair today but it looked nice as usual. She wasn't wearing any make up. Yumi looks cute without make up.
" hey" Yumi said
"What's up? What's the matter with you?"
Yumi sat down at the table. Rika was making a coffee for Yumi. Yumi usually drinks caramel latte at Starbucks but actually she likes to drink black coffee, strong.
Rika put the coffee on the table.
"Do you remember that I slept with that guy about half a year ago?"
"ummm yeah? When you had fight with Nate?"
"So, what's the matter with that guy? You met him again or something?"
Yumi looked down at her lap.
"Oh, Do you remember that I went to take HIV test with Kate the other day?"
"Yeah I think I heard that.""cccc.."
" I have got the result today."
"So you are saying.."
Oh my god. Rika screamed in her head. Yumi is infected with HIV.? I wasn't sure what to say. I had no idea what kind of face I should show.
"Are you sure about it?" That was a stupidest question I could ever make. She went to take test and she was positive.
"Yeah. It's pretty sure." Yumi responded.
"But when? and How?".
"Well, you remember of that I was afraid of getting pregnant? Because I forgot to use condoms that day? I was too drunk to use it with a stranger. That was so stupid. I can't believe I was that stupid"
"Yes" she remembered it because she was really worried until her period and we went out to drink because she wasn't pregnant. It wasn't really a good idea to go out to drink a lot when you have your period. Yumi got really sick next day and we both skipped classes for the whole day. She was so happy and Rika was happy, too. That night, Rika met Hiroki. She went out with him after 4 days from that night. One thing came out in her mind. The other day Yumi told her that she started to take the pill.
"Yumi? Didn't you tell me that you started to take the pill?"
Yumi didn't want to be afraid of getting pregnant. Therefore she started to take the pill about 3 month ago.
"So you don't use condoms recently?"
The Second thing that came out in her mind was.
HAVE I GOT AIDS?
She tried to stay calm to not let Yumi know what she was thinking. She just wanted to believe it was a joke.
"..How did you find out?"
"Well, do you know Kate? Well, she is a friend from my university. She had sex with a guy and she heard a rumor that he had HIV. So she had to get tested. She didn't want to go by herself so I went with her. And just for fun, I took the test, as well. I wasn't even going to pick up the result. But today, Kate called me and she didn't want to get the results by herself so I went with her. Then I picked up mine. This is the paper."
The paper said
Atsuta Health Center
Positive. We cannot reverse that.
"I wanna go back to the past and
not have sex with that stranger. It is all my fault."
"Maybe Nate is infected with HIV, too."
Yumi fell on her face and burst into tears. Rika could not say anything. Only the sound of Yumi's sobs filled the room.
She felt like she was in a world with only Yumi in this small room, the only sound was her big sob. Now she cannot believe there is another world outside of this room. Wanted to believe when she opens that door, there will be different world and the things that Yumi told her disappears like a dream. When you wake up from your dream, you feel like you were cheated because it wasn't real. She hoped it'll be like that this time. Rika should close her eyes. And count from 5 seconds. Five four.. three two still hear Yumi's voice saying something..one. Rika opened eyes. Still Yumi is talking in front of her.
"Should I tell Nate to go to get checked?"
My mind returned with that question. And wend back to her world. What happen if Nate was infected!? When was the first time when I slept with Nate? Two weeks? Rika slept with Nate two weeks ago. Rika went to clubbing with her friends from her university. She was already drunk before she went there. She saw a tall really handsome guy in the club. It was Nate. She didn't know he was that hot before that day. He looked so hot maybe because she was drunk. Then she couldn't really remember what happened. But when she woke up, Nate was next me.
"Hey, are you listening to me?" Yumi looked at my face.
Yumi realized that Rika is thinking about something.
"Please don't feel sorry for me thought Rika." said Yumi. "I don't want to be like those girl who cries for me but smiling in the heart." "You don't have to choose word to say."
"Oh I'm not like thatc."
Rika looked up Yumi's face. Rika wasn't still sure what to say. If she opens mouse, she felt like she'll burst saying what happened with Nate. She wanted to say. But what if she did? She knows Yumi is really into Nate and Rika kept pretending she has nothing to do with Nate. Maybe Nate have not infected with HIV. Who knows? But Rika could not stop thinking about Nate.
"..Nate." Rika couldn't stop saying his name.
Yumi had really concerned face.
"Yeah I know that but I don't know how."
I don't know either. Rika said in her heart.
"WellI know it'll be really heard. But you have to do it anyway. You can't even have a sex. He'll notice." Well, after Rika said, Rika realized what she is going to do if she has got HIV.
It was already about 3 in the morning.
"Well, I think I have to go." Yumi said.
"Sorry that I can't really listen to you. I have been really tired. We can talk soon, right?"
" Yeah" Yumi went to out the door with a better smile than when she came.
The door shut and the silence left.
Rika felt she was left alone and many thoughts came into her mind but she couldn't sort it out. She turned on her lap top. The computer she bought when she entered university. It is a Panasonic's Let's Note. It was really expensive but it was worth paying that money. She uses it a lot for her school work. In the silent room was of Windows starting up. Rika clicked on Internet Explorer. It took some time to open it. The Google! window opened. Rika typed "HIV Test in Nagoya" in the explorer bar. Rika clicked the first one that was listed. There are several places where people can get tested for free and without confirming their name. She clicked on it to find more details. She wanted to be tested as soon as possible. But one sentence stopped her. There were some notes about when you can take the test.
It has to be more than 3 months after you have something to worry about.
"What!?" she said." I just had sex with Nate two weeks ago. Even if I was infected with HIV, I have to wait two and a half months? What am I going to do during that long period? I can't stand that. What should I do? Many thoughts attacked her. She has too many things to think about. Should I tell Hiroki? What should I tell him anyway? "I had an affair?" No, I can't. I don't wanna hurt Hirokic..But what if I have been infected with HIV? I cannot have SEX with himwell, he will notice. But I can't tell him. I love him. I don't want him to hate me. He will definitely hate me if I tell him what I was doing. But isn't it really a selfish idea? I had an affair that I can't even tell my best friend. I was lying to everyone. That's my fault. It is punishment from someone who was watching me from above. I wish I could go back to the past. My feet wouldn't go to that club where I met Nate. My eyes wouldn't follow Nate. My brain wouldn't think to take that opportunity. My throat wouldn't take that much liquid in. I wouldn't mind missing that fun if I didn't have to think about this. Nate and I didn't have that kind of love relationship. We just wanted to have fun. Probably we kind of enjoyed cheating on somebody. It was our little secret. Then the secret started to melt down.
Rika kept Googling.
HIV, risk factor, percentage
Typed in the white Google bar, and clicked search button. There are so many websites came up. She clicked on the first row. The first one didn't answer her question. She wanted to know how much risk she has.
Yumi definitely has HIV. Nate, I'm not sure but she had SEX without using condoms. I just had few SEX with Nate. How much risk do I have? Do you people infected with just one SEX? How do you get infected anyway?
She clicked another website and there was a questionnaire
The title was "Who Should be Tested for HIV?" Sounds like just made it for her. She answered the questionnaire and turned out that she might be infected with HIV. She didn't want to know "might" thing. She wanted to know exact data so that she can relief a bit.
She clicked another website.
The percentage of getting HIV is 0.1 to 1 % if you don't use condoms.
It was said in the website. Oh my god, 0.1 to 1% means 1 in 1000 to 100. Maybe I am not infected with HIV. She scroll downed the screen.
It was said,
You don't get infected if HIV didn't get into blood vessel. If you have a scar on your skin, it'll go into your blood vessel.
So, if Rika didn't have a scar on her skin, she is not the one... Maybe she is not infected.
Ring ring ring
The alarm went on. Hiroki stopped the alarm. It was Saturday so he did not have to wake up but he forgot to unset the alarm. He tried to sleep again. The alarm clock was from Rika on their first Christmas day. He thought was really funny because girls he knew would not give that kind of gift on romantic Christmas day. He was surprised but became to like Rika more. Relationship between Rika was the longest relationship he ever had. He opened his caller phone and dialed Rika.
It's 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Rika was still in bed with her eyes open. She couldn't sleep last night. She kept searching internet until around 3. She tried to sleep but couldn't stop thinking about what to do. Knowing there is nothing she could do until she can go to the test. She wasn't sure if she was able to spend two month and a half.
Rika's phone made noise. It was a phone call from Hiroki. Rika answered the phone after 4 rings.
"Hello?" Rika said
"Hey, what are you doing?" Hiroki's familiar voice echoed in Rika's head. Rika did not know what to say. Rika did not say anything. Just her mouths moved to make sound. "Rika?" "What's wrong?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just have been busy from homework."
"Can I visit you today? Sometime today?" Rika paused for a while. Rika had mixed feeling. Rika didn't want to meet him because she didn't know what to talk. She felt like when she opens her mouth, the words will automatically spread. However, she also wanted to meet him and make her comfort. She wanted him to hug her and wanted to forget everything while she was in his hands. "If you don't feel like, that's OK." His calm voice made her decision.
"Oh, noc. What time are you coming?"
"Well, around 3 or 4?"
"All right. I'll wait you home."
Rika opened the door. There was Hiroki as usual, smiling. Rika smiled back to him. Rika suddenly regret of accepting to meet today.
Should I tell him? I can't keep it secret. No, I can't tell that. She kept saying in her mind back and forth, couldn't stop.
"There is something that I have to tell you."
"What?" Hiroki had worried face.
"Well." Rika looked at Hiroki's face and paused for several seconds.
"I love you." That's all she could say. She couldn't say it in front of his face. She really regret about everything. Hiroki smiled.
"I love you too." He kissed on her forehead. Rika regretted that she didn't say what happened. Now she cannot tell him afterwards. She decided to keep it secret.
Two weeks have past since Yumi told me about the things. Rika tried to keep her busy to not think about her problem. Today Nate is coming to her house. Rika have not talked with him for 2 weeks. She avoided meeting him because she was not ready to share what's happening. Also Rika avoided to talk with Yumi either. However, Nate called her and said he really needs to talk to her immediately.
Ring ring ring.
Rika's phone rang. It's a sign when he arrives. Rika opened the door. Nate hugged me. Ring.
Silent filled the room. He didn't try to come into the room.
"You heard from Yumi right?" He said onto her ear. Rika put her face out from his shoulder and looked at his face. She couldn't find what kind of face expression he has. Rika put her face down and paused and said.
"Yeah.I did." "Did." Rika couldn't finish her sentence. But instead of that, Nate answered.
"No, I haven't. I'm not sure."
Now, Rika doesn't know what to say. She didn't feeling like to say something nice. She wasn't sure either.
"I think we shouldn't meet for a while" Said Nate. Rika had mixed feeling. Nate has been her something special guy but it was so easy to lose. Rika couldn't say for a while. Finally, she said.
"Yeah we should."
I have been so selfish. Now, all I have is fear. Said it in her mind. But she wanted to be alone and that was what she needed. So it was good that Nate told her. It was sure that they couldn't spend more time anymore. Now both have something to think about which can't be resolved together.
Rika couldn't stop think about sharing the problem with someone. Not someone. There was only one person she wanted and did not want and that was Yumi. She put her cell phone in front of her face and pushed the button to get Yumi's number. The cell phone's display was shining. She tried to push the talk button. She closed the phone and opened again.
Ring ring ring
She had decided that if Yumi do not answer in 5 rings, she would hang up.
Ring fourth call. Rika almost hung up. But Yumi answered just before Rika hang up.
"Hello?" Yumi answered.
"..." Rika couldn't say a word. Rika was not ready to talk.
"Ok, I'll go. You are at home, right?"
15 minutes later, the same scene as Rika saw 3 weeks ago except now Yumi is wearing brown jacket. Rika couldn't really catch her eyes. Rika felt that Yumi knows everything.
"Hi." Rika said it first.
"Hi." Yumi said. The same silence floated in the room.
Rika finally looked at her face. Tears started to drop from her eyes.
Both cried. And Yumi said in really small voice.
"I'm really good at guessing." Rika looked at Yumi's face. Yumi wasn't smiling but not have an angry face either. Yumi had mixed feeling, as well. Yumi had known Rika for long time.
"I'm sorry."Rika said with sob.
2 months later, Rika went for the test. She had to wait on the sofa. She was worried but somehow she was calm, as well. She was still worryed that she have infected with HIV but she didn't have any fear at all. No fear to put things in her own heart. No more secrets, Rika feels so light.