I received a text message a few minutes before midnight last night... "Call me". It was from my long lost bestfriend, Anne.
Anne was a girl friend of mine I met from the previous company I worked with, met her 5 years ago. We instantly bonded like two dolls stuck together by mighty bond. She was a very strong, bitchy, pretty, and a snobbish woman. I don't know what she found in me, but she treated me more affectionately more than her boyfriend (past and present). When Angel and I broke up, she was the one who sort of adopted me. I lived with her and her boyfriend and another friend of ours in a small house in this little "celebrity" filled village in Quezon city. The four us lived together for almost a year, all of us were officemates. Anne, literally became my elder sister, my mother, my yaya, my boss, my mentor, my friend. There came a point where I was so depressed that I cannot eat anything, I became anorexic and rumors spread in the office that I was taking drugs. One day I woke up in the living room (I sleep in Anne's living room) with the noise of plastic bags being folded and the noise of cooking in the kitchen. It was Anne, cooking breakfast. She told me that I had to eat or she will evict me from her house... "Kakain ka o hindi ka na uuwi dito?". Of course, I have to eat. One great thing about her is that she loves to cook and she cooks really good. I can say that she can compete if there's a cooking competition. Starting that day, I always wake up with food already prepared at the table and I already have packed lunches. She always make sure that I have something to eat. If she was not able to prepare anything, she always make sure that I will have food at my station. She always follow my schedule too. So we always go to work together and go home together. We spend more time together than her and her boyfriend. I gained 10 pounds after a few weeks. I'm very close to her family, her family welcomed me with open arms and treated me like one of them. I miss them a lot.
I remember one unforgettable day years ago. There was a party at Anne's boyfriend's house. There were bottles of Tequila scattered on one table and tequila shots were everywhere. The next day, I was sleeping in one corner of the in-house gym, cozily tucked with a blanket on one giant bean bag wearing only thin basketball shorts of Anne's boyfriend. When I got up, as usual, breakfast was already waiting for me in the main dining room and there she was preparing coffee for me, freshly brewed of course. I asked her what happened and she told me I passed out. I asked for my clothes and she told me the maid was still washing them because she has to take them off me. She dragged me in the shower the night before. She said I was full of vomit and was crawling on the floor, I was so filthy drunk. So she has to strip me naked and bathe me clean, then dress me up for bed, with only the basketball shorts on. I couldn't remember anything that she said, but the basketball shorts were very comfy, thinking it was from her hunky and well muscled boyfriend.
Anyway, I called her up right away when she told me to. It was some bad news. A friend of hers whom I met I few years ago was already terminally ill and confined in San Lazaro. He has HIV and already have a CD4 count of 1, he already has AIDS, and the doctors only gave him two weeks more to live. "Tomorrow there will be lawyers" she said, to take care of the documents and properties he will leave behind. She told me that she couldn't bare look at him for a long time because the guy was so heartbreakingly fragile and thin, he could no longer walk nor talk. The guy has been living with HIV for 5 years and he is only 27, same age as I am now. She told me that she doesn't want to see me like that and made me promise that I will stop smoking, drinking, and made me swore that I will take good care of my health. She told me that it will be very hard for her to see me like that. I tried so hard to keep my tears from falling, because I was in the production floor. I told I will take good care of myself, and she will not visit me one day in the hospital looking so ill. The state of her friend scared me a lot. I don't want to be like that one day. That conversation meant a lot to me, because we haven't spoken to each other for more than a year due to some certain arguments and misunderstandings. She told me how much she misses me and how much she loves me. Tears fell at that point.
After I had pneumonia last week, I started to get scared. I am scared that I might catch it again. I'm scared that I might be catching more diseases on my daily commute to work or at the office. I'm scared that the next time I get sick, my body will not be able to withstand it anymore. Catching pneumonia is one sign that my CD4 count is already getting low. I'm scared so scared.
My next CD4 extraction will be this December. I hope the numbers are still good.