Thirteen Years: A Couple Of White Lies

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

A Couple Of White Lies

Continued from… Still At Home

Annie was relieved to hear from Isaac again only five days before they were scheduled to leave.

Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 00:22:14

Hi there you,

I couldn’t sleep. I do not use the sleeping tablets anymore. Only in extreme cases. I had read the information leaflet about the side effects. I stopped using it about three weeks ago. It just takes a bit longer to fall asleep.

Since I am writing to you now, you know I didn’t leave on the Flossie. I was on standby, and I decided I didn’t want to take a chance on that. I could just not bring up the effort to go to my mother and not to have any transport. It would have been a very long day.

I take it calm every day. Very calm, so there is little news. I think the cold is gone, or rather, I hope so. The pain is also bearable, thanks to the morphine patches. They are supposed to work for 74 hours and they do.

There is an appointment with the doctor on 21 June. I guess I will get the last blood results and the report of the biopsy. I will let you know.

It is cold over here. I don’t know whether I am cold-blooded nowadays, but it happens more and more that I get into bed fully clothed, only to get warm. I can hardly put my pajamas on halfway through the day, so I just get in bed with my clothes still on.

Forgive me my slowness in writing. I did not forget about you and I still miss you all a lot.

Lots of love and longing.

A letter addressed to Isaac’s mom explained Annie and Jacques were going to visit her son. Annie asked her not to say anything to Isaac if she received the letter before 18 June, the day on which they arrived in South Africa. Annie explained they were only going there for ten days, since they knew how sick Isaac was and they didn’t want to exhaust him.

Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 06:02:12

Hi there all of you,

I don’t know what is going on with my sleeping pattern, but something’s wrong.

Kathy drove back on Saturday with the girlfriend of her sister’s son. Luckily, she was not alone in the car for the long trip.

My colleague visited me with her mother and they said my sitting room looks very nice. That made me proud.

There is not much news over here. Last week I ate a curry dish for three consecutive days and I don’t think I should have done that. I have an awkward feeling on my stomach.

How is Myra doing? I see nowadays I cannot handle it when people who seem to have no reason for it are depressed. Everyone who gets depressed has a reason, but I can’t deal with it. I noticed I’m cooler towards Billy too. I guess time will fix it.

I’m going back to bed to see if I can sleep. I will talk to you again. Miss you a lot too.

Lots and lots and lots of love,

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 19:58:19

Hi there my friends,

Jeanne called me and said she wanted your e-mail address so she could contact you. I guess you will hear from her soon.

Maybe we are wrong to feel like that towards Billy and Myra. Maybe if we knew more about their situations, we would have understood it better. Honestly, I cannot shake this feeling. Both of them have so much to live for. Life is what you make of it. I think they should just get their acts together and count their blessings.

The feeling on my tummy is gone. I don’t know whether the curry dish caused it. However, I will be more careful in the future.

I rested yesterday. I only got up to go to the Post Office. I was just back home when it started to rain and it was so nice to get back into bed then. If I did not know any better, I could have lived like this forever – doing nothing. But I cannot. One of these days, I will look for something I can do.

Not much other news.
Miss you a lot too.
Lots of love,

Since Isaac mentioned he had gone to the Post Office, Annie misleadingly asked him whether the package had arrived. The package was still upstairs in their bedroom, ready to be packed for their trip.

The next day, the day before they were leaving for South Africa, Annie wrote to Isaac again. In her e-mail, she wanted to know whether it was okay for her to call Isaac on Friday during the day. She said she wanted to know if he had any plans to leave the house during the morning. Of course, she was only trying to find out whether he would be home when they arrived.

On Thursday, Annie had to work her normal hours in the morning. Jacques was already off from work. They had arranged they would wait for Annie’s children at her mom’s place, as the children were staying with Grace while Annie and Jacques were in South Africa.

Just before they left, Jacques made some pictures of Annie in their garden. In the pictures, she waved at the camera. They attached the pictures to an e-mail and sent it off to Isaac. It was a corny e-mail, as Annie had difficulty in containing her excitement and nervousness.

That evening, Annie and her husband boarded the plane to South Africa.

To be continued… From Amsterdam to Cape Town

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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