SCENES OF NO TOMORROW (PART 3)

SCENES OF NO TOMORROW (PART 3)

Previously on SCENES OF NO TOMORROW

*

It was as if I underwent a personality change after my second rape. It was as if I got turned to stone. As I lived, I came across many guys who never got the chance to even prove who they were to me. I trusted no one. I suspected everybody of having an ulterior motive. Everyone that hit me up online instantly became a sexual predator, and with each passing day, I sank more and more into an emotionless spit. This wasn’t me; I was not born to not love or be emotional. But my circumstances effected a change in my nature that I couldn’t help. The few friends and acquaintances I made afterwards always had the same complaints about me, terrible opinions about my personality which ranged from sadistic to rude, from stone-hearted to aloof.

I knew these unkind conclusions were getting drawn about me, and I couldn’t help myself. I simply found it hard to see the good in people. And when they were good, I always expected the bad to be lurking somewhere behind. So I didn’t give it a chance to surprise me.

Life became colourless, too serious even for me. I became all about my school work and church activities. The stress of such a rigid living must have affected my health because I was often going to the clinic to get treated for malaria and typhoid.

I graduated from school, and in May 2015, for NYSC, I was posted to Sokoto State. I wanted to die. I saw this as another way life wanted to knock me down after what I’d already been through in the past. I mean, Sokoto! Wasn’t that like the ends of the earth?

Before I set off for camp, I got vaccinated against malaria and typhoid, two ailments I seemed to always be getting stricken down with. I was also suffering every now and then from a brief spell of drowsiness, which was always followed by a loss of consciousness for some minutes. I saw all this as such an annoying inconvenience, but one which I’d eventually overcome when I became less stressed with life.

There was nothing exotic about Sokoto. It was just as bad as they said it would be. A very dry place with a very funny, unappealing weather; it was wither extremely hot or extremely cold. Add this to the regular insecurities of the North and I was frantically applying to get relocated to Rivers State.

A few days to our passing out parade ceremony, it rained like the world was going to end. I had never experienced such a rainstorm. It started with a sand storm, and then came this strong wind that was powerful enough to move a human being. Corp members and everyone in camp were running helter-skelter, looking for refuge from the impending storm. The racket of the downpour on the roof was terrifying. The wind whistled and banged about like it was warming up to the rage it needed to uproot the house we were sheltered in. We were all crowded together, everybody holding hands together for comfort and warmth.

Before long though, people started fainting. I fainted too. The weather condition was much too extreme. It wasn’t until later, when I came to, that I learned that some brave Corp members decided to brave the storm and carried those of us who’d lost consciousness to the camp clinic, where those who were graduates of Medicine battled to resuscitate us.

That night was just the worst.

The next day, the relocation list was posted. I didn’t get the Rivers State I’d applied for. I was instead posted to Imo State. Even though I was disappointed, really, anywhere was better than Sokoto State.

Service in Imo wasn’t bad, not so interesting either. Due to the fact that I was a relocated corper, I got to the state late after all the good places of primary assignment had been snapped up by those who got here by initial posting. I was sent to serve in a village somewhere in Ideato North LGA.

I was adjusting nicely to my new routines and lifestyle, when Life showed me that She wasn’t finished with me.

It was a Thursday, and corpers were gathered at the local government secretariat for the weekly CDS/ Monthly Clearance. After waiting for what seemed like eternity, it was finally my turn to payroll. I was called up by the Local Government Inspector; as I stood up to go fill out my details, everywhere suddenly turned into a blur. It was as though the light got snuffed out by a finger of darkness, and I dropped into nothingness. I fainted.

I woke up later to find myself in the primary health centre in the secretariat, and as though she was waiting for me to open my eyes, a nurse with a very hard face tied my hands with some plastic string and began drawing a substantial amount of blood out of my vein. I was too lethargic to resist, and besides, she was in a uniform, so I deferred to the authority she represented and asked no questions.

However, I kept wondering what she was doing, needing all that blood, especially when she came back again for more. This time, she pricked my thumb with a sharp pointy thing to get the blood from there. All this was done very mechanically, like she couldn’t be bothered to spare me any warmth or explanation for her actions.

I wasn’t bothered by her attitude though. I was just mortified about fainting in the midst of other corpers. I was still caught up with the thought of how I was going to explain this bizarre occurrence to them, when the nurse got back into the room and asked me the question I never thought anyone would ever ask me.

“Sir, are you gay?”

I recoiled instantly from the question – and the woman. “Excuse me?” I flashed, taking refuge in the quick anger that rushed through my system. “Did I hear you correctly?”

And that was when she began a long monologue about why she asked; because of how I flinched when she was about to prick my thumb for blood and how I’d been acting girly and babyish since I was brought into the hospital.

I couldn’t believe the rubbish I was hearing. Since when did administering health care reach out to include such stereotypical conclusions about a person’s sexual orientation? Feeling very angry now, I snapped at her, “I’m sorry, but I fail to see the relation of someone’s sexual orientation with health care. Exactly what is the point of this stupid question?”

Taken aback by my temper, she apologized and then asked another bewildering question: “Are you the last child of your family?”

Hian! What is all this one?

I didn’t answer. I just nodded in the affirmative.

And that was when she finally announced the words that brought my world to a momentary stop: “Well, sir, you are HIV positive.”

The shock was quick and lasted a millisecond, before getting short-circuited back to anger. I sought refuge in my fury and lashed out at the nurse. I called her rude, a quack, a liar and an evil witch. Then I threatened to report her for carrying out whatever tests she had on my blood without my consent. I didn’t know much about medical procedure, but I knew you had to get the patient’s consent to get so invasive with him. I was so furious and I was going to take her down.

She wilted before my rage, and where once her attitude was smug and detached, she began to sound placating, saying I should not be angry, apologizing, stating that the test she ran when I was first brought in revealed so much malaria parasite in my blood stream, that she suspected I might be HIV positive and so she went with her instinct.

Just imagine!

I was positive that she was wrong. Her inappropriate handling of her job alone was reason for me not to believe what she told me about my status. And because of this rationalization, I eventually calmed down and decided to let the whole situation slide. My parents had been apprised of my situation, and when I got my dad on the phone, I insisted that the nurse tell him everything that transpired between me and her, from her bad judgment call to her news about me having HIV. She did, and my father, after mildly berating her, just wanted me out of there. I was soon discharged, and upon my parents’ insistence, I left Imo for Lagos.

On the journey home, I couldn’t stop my mind from going back to that awful nurse and the news she announced to me.

You are HIV positive.

Those words sent repeated chills down my spine. I could not comprehend the possibility of them ever being true, of that evil woman ever been correct with her determination.  I mean, how? Where? Why? But then again, I couldn’t stop the nagging recollections of the sexual experiences I’d had which could basically be summed up into the two times I was sexually assaulted. I knew Steve hadn’t raped me with a condom, but I couldn’t be sure if the first assault had happened with a condom or not. And then I was back to shaking my head and convincing myself that there was simply no way I could have contracted HIV.

On getting home and getting settled, my dad was unusually kind and loving! Hello?! What was happening? I’d braced myself for a severe scolding from him, followed by him taking me over to a clinic for a test and thereafter an interrogation about sex. But none of that happened. Instead, my parents let me get well and rested from my journey and my fainting spell before advising me to go take a test, at least to confirm a second opinion.

I was surprised, to be honest, that my father wasn’t simply making me do it. Instead, it seemed as though he was cajoling me to go take a test. I simply didn’t believe I had HIV, and if I was going to take a test, in my mind, I’d be doing it for the sake of my parents’ peace of mind.

And so, I talked to an online acquaintance who disclosed to me that he worked in a health facility sponsored by USAID majorly for HIV related cases and sexually transmitted diseases especially among homosexual men. Surprised that such a place that catered to gay men existed in Nigeria, I told him about my need to take a HIV test. And he directed me to a facility called Population Council.

When I got there, I was made to go through the process of pre-counseling and then the test proper. The period after the test seemed like an eternity, because the counselor confirmed that it was possible I could get infected from my sexual assault. He was even willing to help me file a petition against my assaulters, but I wasn’t in the mood to pursue that. So I declined.

Finally, I was called in and it turned out the witch in Imo State was right after all. I was HIV positive.

I felt my insides begin to shatter upon hearing the result and everything the counselor was saying during the post-counseling session was like a boring sermon on homosexuality in church. I simply wasn’t there. I was somewhere inside me, wallowing in my grief. This was just unfair. Life was just unfair. For all intents and purposes, I was a virgin. I had never been sexually active. And then because of the wickedness of some other men, I was inflicted by a life-long disease. How was this right?

I still cannot say how I got home from Population Council. I simply remember seeing myself in my room, then dropping off to a teary sleep, and waking up hours later to find my parents in my room. It was obvious from their expressions that I didn’t have any announcement to make. They knew. And I could tell it was distressing news to them, although my father was handling his shock better than my mother.

My father began a sermon on forgiveness. He was asking me not to try to trace whatever events may have led to my contracting HIV. I was there in bed, listening to my father counsel me against going after the girls who may have done this to me, when I knew it was a number of boys who had ravaged my life like this. It was surreal. How could I tell my father that I wasn’t a victim of reckless sexual debauchery with females, but a victim of rape – and that I am gay? How?

Truth is, I couldn’t.

I didn’t.

I just had to stay focused on living. Because between the ARVs I soon got started on and the bouts of depression and the suicidal thoughts that wracked my mind, I needed all the strength I could muster to live. My parents have especially been amazing in their support of me, caring and concerned every step of the way. And this makes it harder for me to be truthful with them. With every moment they are loving toward me, follows a moment I find it more and more difficult to say or do anything that will break their hearts and shatter their hopes.

And so I have simply removed my mind from the future of my truth, and have decided to live my life one day at a time.

THE END

Written by Q-Mara

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27 Comments

  1. Black Dynasty
    May 03, 06:39 Reply

    Fuck!!! That’s messed up on every level.
    *sighs* the small devil in me that I’ve managed to cage would have woke up to ruin the lives of those guys from the rage I would be feeling if I were in your shoes.

    I realise these happened a few years ago and I genuinely admire your strength to keep on living.

    There isn’t much I can say that would be comforting but thank you for sharing your experience, you would likely have saved a few people from falling into the same trap.

  2. Mandy
    May 03, 06:51 Reply

    This is sad. This is really really sad. How does life reward you after growing up careful with such a violent sexual history and then a lifetime disease. This is so fucked up. It is things like this that set loose damaged people into the society.
    But I’m glad you’re being strong and channeling whatever rage you feel into the positive direction.

    Villain of this episode: the evil nurse. Like seriously, madam, you need to be fired from your job. WTF!

  3. Queen Blue Fox
    May 03, 06:51 Reply

    This just broke me, I literally cried reading this.
    Q-Mara I don’t know what to say, but you are definitely a strong man and nothing can pull you down not even your status.

  4. Swan King
    May 03, 07:08 Reply

    Wow.
    This right here deserves to be made into a book and a movie. And the story shouldn’t end. 2015 was 3years ago, we need the latest!

    • Q-Mara
      May 03, 11:43 Reply

      Q-Mara has been living one day at a time, accepting all that life has got to offer. The Good, the bad, and the ugly… i am not a saint, neither the devil, but only Human.
      Hopefully there’ll be something to write about again. Positive i hope.

  5. Bendito®
    May 03, 07:22 Reply

    Oh no! A virgin actually becoming venereal, such a sad life.
    He has the strength to pull through, some people would have turned their wrist over when they’ve had enough 😞.

  6. Simba
    May 03, 07:38 Reply

    I wept, am sorry u had to go through all this. Sometimes life seem to be very unfair. Incase you ever need someone to talk to, ask Pinky for my contact. I am a Physician and there are other physicians here you can reach out to. Just know ur not alone, you have brothers, sisters, friends all in here. Hugs

    • Q-Mara
      May 03, 11:46 Reply

      Thank you dear Simba. Will always have this in mind… Xoxo

  7. Ria
    May 03, 07:57 Reply

    Fuck! How much can one man take? I honestly don’t know what to say. Except you are strong. So fucking strong. Way stronger than what has happened and the animals who violated you in such a way and infected you with this disease. Thank you for sharing and know that we are all rooting for you.

  8. Deji
    May 03, 08:09 Reply

    This must be the saddest story I’ve ever read on this platform. So sorry for your experience bro, stay strong.

    • Malik
      May 03, 16:51 Reply

      I swear! I feel numb. I’m only comforted by the fact that this story is still being written and I believe in happy endings.

  9. mikkiyfab
    May 03, 10:24 Reply

    This is just so wicked, am a guy but this is y I refuse to date talk less of having sex or even making friends with guys
    Q-mara thank u so much so so much, u are really strong and I draw up courage more from u
    I won’t say this is sad no it isn’t because u are brave u are a beauty and u are a courage in every sense of the word
    Thank u once again

  10. Manach
    May 03, 10:33 Reply

    *sigh*

    It never rain but pours,doesn’t it?.
    You’re strong,I admire you.
    One day at a time,that’s how to live this life.

  11. Titanium Soul
    May 03, 11:11 Reply

    A touchy n really sad story but I want you to give thanks to God in every situation. Also thank him for crossing your path with the nurses’ though she was unprofessional bout the whole thing but you wouldn’t have known bout your status or started treatment if not for that initial encounter with her. Trust me I UNDERSTAND what you going through, don’t let this experience marr you but instead make a better individual with a beautiful heart.

  12. Q-Mara
    May 03, 11:45 Reply

    Oh. Pinky, i cannot thank you enough for your dedication and commitment to the community. No one could have edited and told this story better than u did. U made a beautiful writeup from all that, I can’t seem to thank u enough. Much Love.

  13. Q-Mara
    May 03, 11:52 Reply

    I wish i could reply everyone on here individually. Your comments are soul uplifting and giving me hope for tomorrow. So glad i shared and i hope it yields the desired effect. Thank you all, so much beauty in one blog, certainly i will live happily ever after.
    Just to show how far i have come, Love was once dead to me, but i think it just moved a finger!

    • Bennet
      May 03, 22:21 Reply

      Exactly. Love will take her time to wake up, but she’ll eventually be up and about you again.
      Gosh, you’re so strong that it makes you beautiful. I can’t say for sure that I’d make it through all this still standing. I’ve never had a relationship, I’m not even 18 sef and believe me, I’m more of a hopeless romantic than you were before Steve. But I’ve learnt a great deal and although I pray I don’t experience similar troubles, I’ll always be very cautious, maintaining respect of course.
      Just a little reminder: don’t look back, and show life how stubborn you can be, how unwilling you are to give up. Always remind yourself that you handled your circumstances in the best ways possible. In fact, you just became my superhero. ❤️

  14. DelicousDelilah
    May 03, 12:23 Reply

    This episode reminds me so much about myself, the time I was diagnosed 8yrs ago at age of 19, How my Dad broke the news to me, after he went down to the clinic to get my result. Seriously, I couldn’t process the information properly cos i was in a state of shock. When I look back to all these yrs and how far I’ve come, it simply translate to me that I am stronger than I could imagine. I relate to the story some how shaa.

  15. Durotimi Cole
    May 03, 14:39 Reply

    Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. Some of us are wild and get burnt; others are good guys like you who have done absolutely nothing wrong and find your self here.

    I hope you rise above it and can empower those around with your story. I still feel like we are lacking support groups for PLWHIV in Nigeria. The best we often get is the ARVs and a few perfunctory questions. I stand to be corrected sha.

    Q-Mara, I wish you a beautiful life ahead. I hope to read and learn more about your journey.

  16. SLIMMY
    May 03, 15:37 Reply

    for me I don’t think I will forgive them Oooh… I will look for their numbers and tell them that I have forgiven them and with time o will carry out my plan…

    you can’t wreak my life and you are moving about smiling….

    the bitter truth is that you don’t know whether you got infected from the 1st or the second rape..
    continue to be strong dude…

  17. moonlight
    May 03, 18:16 Reply

    I was lost for some minutes, thinking if it was me what would have done….. I’m sorry u went through this, I have problem trusting guys and this doesn’t help me , I’m actually scared.
    you don’t deserve this cruelty 😞😤

  18. Khaleesi
    May 04, 13:02 Reply

    Omg! Am tongue tied… This story broke my heart into a million pieces. I really don’t know what to say, this is life at it’s unfairest. Q-Mara, you possess superhuman strength. Honestly, i doubt I’d be able to ever get over this + I am certain that I’d never forgive because something tells me that whoever infected you knew that he was +ve and sought to destroy a young, innocent boy.
    Nevertheless, please remain strong, thankfully, HIV is no longer a death sentence, you can Still live a rich and productive life and achieve all your dreams and aspirations.
    Hugs dear, I’ll be rooting and praying for you!!

  19. Dimkpa
    May 04, 16:11 Reply

    This is such a sad tale and is partly as a resilt of wickedness and living in a homophobic country. Had there been legal protections and adequate sexual health services, some of this would have been prevented. Stupid laws have however emboldened criminals while silencing hapless victims. Rape cannot be reported, there’s fear accessing vital health services and even gatherings to educate an already marginalised group is raided as a criminal gathering.

    I am really sorry to read the heartbreaking tale of all you’ve been through. I hope you find reason to be happy in future.

  20. Michaels
    May 05, 10:59 Reply

    Hey guys, a new member here. Came across this blog few weeks ago. Hope I am welcomed.
    This story is touching… I was moved to comment. If I were to be in your shoes, forgiveness will be my very last option. I mean why are some guys mean and heartless. Anyway I have trust issues when it involves guys matters.
    You are a beautiful soul and a courageous and strong lot. You are a survivor. Be the best you can and always trust in God. #i just drew up more strength from your story.
    Keep living dear.

  21. Brazyne
    May 05, 23:27 Reply

    It’s very sad.
    But dear, the world of full of unimaginable horrors… Move on with life, there’s still much more to enjoy.

  22. Q
    May 08, 09:55 Reply

    This is amazing, Q-mera now this is a good way to resist, my heart goes out to you

  23. BJ
    May 13, 19:41 Reply

    Q, you’re really so strong. Your story is a very sad one. It makes me remember the day I was almost raped. It was so close. Till today, I don’t know why he later gave up just at the verge of doing it. I was also a virgin then. Still am. The experience still leaves me shaken each time I think of it.
    Stay strong dear.

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