Thirteen Years: Still At Home

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert

Still At Home

Continued from… Home Renovations

Annie wrote a couple of e-mails in the next days, but they only heard from Isaac again four days later.

Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1999 07:17:24

My dearest friends,

Do not worry. I’m not sick and I’m not angry. I don’t really know the reason for my silences, other than I’m not in the mood for anything. It doesn’t make me miss you less. I guess I’m just going through a phase.

Be admitted for my cold? No way! I am steering clear of hospitals for now. They all had enough of me for now. I know nothing about the results. I guess if there was something I should know, the doctor would have called me.

Billy hasn’t tried to commit suicide again. He drank too much and became depressed. I haven’t seen them yesterday. I don’t want his business to cause me stress, so I steer clear of them. He has a therapist and he should use that to get better.

It is such a shame people who color their hair have their images ruined when the roots show. My hair is dark red and if you look closely, you see the color of the roots. But, my hair grew some it is a bit long in my neck. I really wish my hair would get thicker again, as it was. With this thin pluck of hair on my head and my thin neck and face, I really look sick. It is bad. Really bad.

I take the days as they come. When I’m in the mood to do something, I do it and otherwise I just do nothing. Today is a good day. I have done my washing and I am on my way out to pay some of my bills.

Lots of love,

On her mother’s birthday on 4 June, Isaac congratulated Annie too. Annie replied to him the next day, but she was very careful not to give away the secret of their upcoming trip, which was less than two weeks away.

Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 11:16:39

Dear you,

It’s cold here in Cape Town.

Yesterday, Charlotte came over to fetch my pillows and when she brought them back, they looked very different. She also made some tie backs for my curtains. The tie backs and the pillows now have the same color. Just that bit of color in my sitting room makes a world of difference.

I feel kind of good, but I don’t know how long it will last. I hope it lasts. When I went to the hospital the last time, a couple of people told me I looked good. It was on a day I felt weak, so I told them I might look good, but I don’t feel it.

I couldn’t agree with them. To myself, I look terrible, especially without clothes. The doctor once said I am not losing weight, but muscles, so just imagine what I look like. Thin arms, thin legs, and the clear contours of my neck and shoulders. Yuck!!!

There is not much other news over here.

I miss you all.

Ten days before they were to leave on their trip to South Africa, Annie yet again told a white lie in one of her e-mails. She told Isaac she had sent the package and that it would take ten to fifteen days to reach him. She also said he didn’t have to worry about which item is for who, as she had clearly labeled all of them.

Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 01:06:15

Hi there your darlings,

You should be sound asleep at this moment. I am going to bed as soon as I have finished this e-mail.

I had a frustrating day yesterday. I called an electrician to come and help me with my lights. They just didn’t come. I called a couple of times to ask them when they would be here and they said that they would come. They didn’t.

In my frustration, I grabbed a can of white paint and painted the inside of my front door. That now looks clean too. If I have the strength for it, I will paint the outside tomorrow.

I think I will go to Pretoria with the Flossie on Friday. Kathy is definitely going, and I am on the standby list. Kathy has to drive a car down from there and she wants me to be her co-driver. I will then spend Saturday with my mom. So if you hear nothing from me this weekend, do not worry.

Lots of love and intense longing.

Annie wrote many e-mails to Isaac over the next couple of days. There was only general news in it. Isaac was quiet, and Annie feared he might be in the hospital again. She and Jacques decided to make the trip, no matter what. If they cannot stay with Isaac because he was in the hospital, they knew they could stay with Kathy or Jeanne. The latter didn’t know they were coming either. Only Kathy did.

To be continued… A Couple Of White Lies

Note: This series is a rework of a self-published book (2009), rewritten for this blog, and in loving memory of a dear friend who suffered from and passed because of AIDS. Keep in mind this story happens in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Names of characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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