It has been almost a year now since this virus has taken over my life. The devastation that followed and that continues is mighty deep and it is difficult. The total change from being able to do things to not being able to do things has made me so angry. I remain angry to some extent. I want to be able to not have the side effects from the meds. I have spent the last five weeks having shakes, as my sister would say, “very fine, very fine” but they feel like tremors. My arms shake and I could not stop them. Very difficult to hide from other people or to explain. Another joy of medication side effects. So I thought for a while and decided that perhaps my life crisis needed a life ring. I grew up in a major east coast city. I thought if I went there and did some of the things I did when I was there, i.e. public transportation, museums, and such – perhaps I would feel reassured. I have not been anywhere without my children for over twenty years.. except to the hospital to have more children. My one sister and my kids fathers’ family still live in that east coast city. And I decided it would be a good thing for me to go there. My sister and my mother in law know of this virus and have been there when I weep. So I convinced myself that it would be okay to go, alone to the east coast and to see the older women and folks in my family and ride the trolleys to the places I used to see as a young adult. I called in favors from the kids god parents and all sorts of things.. and I spend money on a ticket, spent money on myself for the first time in over twenty years. And I wept in the airport and in the connecting airport. Not having flown for nine years, I was not impressed with the experience and by the time I got to the east coast and through the taxi ride to the flat I was wasted and needed a shower and a nap. Thought I was going to pass out and I did for a very long time. But you know, when I awoke I went outside, the weather was nice compared to the frozen tundra that I live in, I walked to a pretzel shop and have a pretzel with mustard. I noticed the growth of the buildings, the skyline, the water front I walked along once in a dream of long ago. I saw the mother in law, and my sister. I cried with my sister. It is a strange bond that people share and I am very happy to have my sister. I worry about the pain I am causing her and perhaps the worry. My mother in law sat on the couch with her head on my shoulder and we sat for the longest time. I was inexplicably sad and extremely comfortable at the same time. I never wanted to leave the loving embrace of either of these women. My heart is troubled, the medicine would work for sometime. Perhaps to get my youngest to adulthood but, is that really all the better I can expect? I hate this virus. I slept that last night in my mother in laws bed, I listen to the sounds of the city outside the window. I remember all the times I spent in my room in that house. The number of cats that had come and gone. The trips to work by way of bus, subway and trolley or high speed line. It is a place I love, not just the place with the history and the art work and all that natural beauty but it is the people.. my people.. I miss them so very much. My sister, my mother in law, my nephew and the list continues. Now that life is finite for sure.. I felt like never leaving .. just to be cuddled within all that positive energy and love.. it made my trip and my year. I may have an illness that is going to continue to change my body from the basic level of cells all the way up to the entire system but, who I am is not going to change. I am a kind and loving person who happens to have HIV. HIV while manageable with medications it will kill me in time. This is the truth of the matter. Now I need to decide what I am going to do from here. I can travel, I can see the sites I used to walk around, I can be on my own and living and no one would know from the street or such my secret. Maybe, I can..