This is another Writing Prompt from Reddit.
My father always told me that I’d find my fulfilment as a woman if and when I found myself in bed with a man. My mother, in a huff, would add on a bit about making sure it was only the man I was married to.
When I grew older, I realized it was about sex, and not just being there to provide warmth for your partner. What a naive child I was, thinking that’s all my parents were up to in the wee hours of the night. I suppose looking back at myself and five siblings, both of my parents ended up fulfilled.
I eventually moved out to go about my own life, but some some dumb reason I had taken it to heart. Date after date, I would remind myself of the saying, and end up sounding like a prude when I turned down several advances with very clear motives. Some men stuck around for a few more dates, hoping to eventually get me to cave. “I’ll wait till we’re married,” Was always my firm response.
It wasn’t until several unsuccessful encounters later, I met someone. By this time, I was already putting it out there before they even had the chance to ask. Perhaps it was forward of me, but no man immediately used it as an excuse to run off. He said ‘that’s fine,’ just like some of the others, and I brushed it off, waiting for him to bring it up again.
Even after a few dates, it was never once brought up again. My insecurity, creeping up on me, brought me to do so instead. “Did you think it was weird what I told you, that thing on our first date?”
He paused for a long moment, thinking, fiddling with the food on the table before him. “You have to promise me you won’t leave me for this , but…” he took a deep breath. “I’m HIV positive.”
He told me that he too believed you should love someone before sleeping with them, but at the same time he couldn’t risk or bear passing along the virus to someone he loved.
I didn’t leave him, because already at point I had made it up in my mind that his simple companionship was better than anything I had ever had. It took me a few more dates to build up the courage to say so, but the look in his eyes when I told him reflected the same sentiment. A few weeks later, we were engaged
Before we could even think about a date for the wedding, he started to fall sick. The doctors told him they had no way of telling if he might get better with his condition. We made it up in our minds that the wedding had to be soon.
A dress was bought, a church rented out, and families contacted. His health started to deteriorate. By the time the day arrived, he could barely stand. However, stand he did as we exchanged our vows. Halfway through cutting the cake, he collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital.
Still in the dress, I found myself beside his bed, bawling my eyes out. Breathlessly, he told me to go and spend the night at hotel room we had rented out, the bridal suite all ready for us. At a loss for words, I decided to go there for his sake.
Exhausted from the whole ordeal, I collapsed into the silky bed covers, dress and all. I could faintly smell his cologne that had rubbed off on the fabric, the same scent he had worn on our first date. Curled up, I tried falling asleep with the thoughts endlessly crawling in my head. Before I finally drifted off, the phone rang. I picked it up, fearing the worst.
His voice drifted through the speaker, weakly. “Sweet Dreams, my love.”