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Discovery of AIDS

            It seemed like it would make him die, just speaking it. So I didn't tell anyone, not even my best friends. At school I would slip into a fantastical dreamland, nobody there knew that I should be troubled, pensive. I put on my best front and paraded around the school halls with some sort of smile plastered on my face. At lunchtime I"d stare at my food thinking that my friends should know. I thought of a million different ways to tell them. Each time that I came close to telling them, I would think about their potential reactions. There would be the normal lunchtime banter going on, complaints about the ranch dressing, and I would blurt out, Hey guys, my dad has AIDS. The whole cafeteria would turn silent and the plastic forks would drop from their hands, making a sad little clinking noise. Then I would stare at my food mentally kicking myself for having opened my mouth. I chose to say nothing. I remember very clearly the day that I went to go sit with him during a stay in the hospital. I only did this once because it was too hard for me. I walked down an overly lit sterile hallway trailing behind my mom. When we reached his room I wished that I could just keep walking, pretend I hadn't seen him. I went in and sat down. His shirt was partially unbuttoned so that the IV could be inserted into the top of his arm. He was hooked up to three different kinds of poisons, and one normal IV. There was a newspaper spread across his lap and the ever-present bag of lemon drops was faithfully at his side. His head was laid back in the chair, he was tired. My mom and him tried to involve me in some nice chitchat, I met and shook hands with the doctors and nurses, It's nice to meet you Dr. McCoy. Yeah right. They complimented him on what a beautiful daughter he had. I blushed, smiled politely then excused myself to the bathroom. I wiped away my forming tears and gave myself a mental pep talk to be cheery. As long as I didn't look at his tired eyes I was OK.

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