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She is dreaming of the man next door

By Marguerite Gordon

I knew him from next door. He was a guy I always thought was just wonderful, in fact, I think I fell in love with him when I first saw him and I was only about 14 years old. He was 22. I knew I was too young and I never told anyone how I felt about him but I kept watching him all the time, hoping he would notice me. He never did, but I knew he was a player.

He was working and always seemed to be going out. Sometimes some good-looking girls came to his house. He lived with his mother and she must have approved of all of that, but she was not friendly to me, though I tried to talk to her a couple of times. She always had a worried look on her face. I was so envious of all the girls who I thought he was seeing. When I was 16, I spoke to him and I thought he looked at me in a special way, but that was that.

I knew he played Carnival every year. He always looked so great in his Carnival costumes. I started to dream of him almost every night. I wanted so much to be with him. I wanted him to make love to me. I could feel him touching me. I waited and I waited. I had some "puppy" fat at that time but I started to diet, I started to exercise. I slimmed down because I was going to be with him - I - knew - I would, in Carnival, 2012!

I would make him notice me before that and "it" would happen.

My school work started to fall off and even though I lived with my parents, they were both into Carnival every year, they planned for Carnival from one year to the next and my low passes when I was 17 did not seem to bother them. They were not bad parents, but they seemed to be more interested in planning every year for the next Carnival and the next Carnival. So that is one of the reasons I started to plan too.

I was almost 18 in 2012. It was easy to find out what band he was playing in. He had changed to some new band that had just come out. A big band. I had a friend working there so I was able to find out the section he was playing in. Because I had worked every Christmas and summer holidays, I had managed to save and my parents also helped me with some funds to get an awesome costume. I fixed up my hair, my makeup was out of sight, my figure was so cool and I knew I looked hot. Would he recognize me?

Just before Carnival 2012, I walked up to him and called his name. He looked very surprised and said, "Yuh looking all grown up!" I knew there was a different light in his eyes and I said to myself, "You haven't seen anything yet!"

On Carnival Tuesday 2012, the music in this huge band was hypnotising; the beat of the heavy speakers seemed to be throbbing deep in my heart. I wined, and moving to the music went up to him and called his name, he looked so handsome and his jaw literally fell open, "you're staying with me "he said. And did I stay with him! All the rest of that day and into the night! We went in his car behind a well-known area behind a well-known Mall and made love over and over and over. This was the first time I had ever played Carnival and I knew this would not be the last and I knew we would always be together. I really did not know too much about protection and he told me he never used it either. It was my first time, but I knew it wasn't his. But that was OK. I knew we were meant for each other

The next day he did not call me and I decided to go over to his house. His mother looked very upset when I asked for him. "He's gone away and not coming back right now". I started to cry, "But we're together" I said loudly. Then she started to cry, "You've been with him?" I nodded. Her eyes looked wild, "Check yourself!" she shouted.

What did she mean check myself? I told myself over and over when I left her that I could not be pregnant, this only happened last night! She must be a mad woman. But he never came back. Months passed and I started to get some strange signs that I do not want to talk about. And yes, I went to a doctor and was given an HIV test and yes, I am now HIV positive.

He was the only man I had ever been with, he looked so healthy, and he looked so good. It all happened on Carnival Tuesday, 2012.

My life will never be the same.

Dear Readers:

The above story was told to me by a beautiful, sobbing young woman.

So what do we have here? Negligence on the part of her parents, too absorbed in "playing mas" to monitor her school work and insisting that she knew about the facts of life, self-respect, high morals and the need for protection.

Negligence on the part of the victim herself, living in some romantic fairyland, mooning over the man - eight years her senior - right next door where she could observe how many women went in and out of the house he lived in with his mother. This victim was oblivious to the world around her. Did she not read, talk to friends, or find some parent figure who could have told her about life? Did she go to a Church or Temple or Mosque? Did she try to find guidance from anyone at all?

And what of the mother next door? Did she not suspect her son had this frightening disease? From her reaction, "Check yourself," she must have suspected her son was infectious and a carrier. Did she insist that he be treated; did she insist that all those women who came to her house must stop? Was there no one she could have turned to? Ah, there was no man in the house apart from her handsome son.. so he was in charge.

And what of this young man himself? When did he know he was HIV positive? Did he get it from one or more of the many girls or women over the years? And did he know what he was doing when the victim approached him on Carnival Tuesday, 2012? He must have. He said, "You're staying with me". So like a terrible vampire he decided to lock her into what turned out to be his last deadly embrace. Remember, he was not there the next day.

His mother and himself are guilty of, is it criminal negligence? He knowingly put someone else's life at risk. And what about all the other women?

What has happened to him? I do not know.

What has happened to her? I do not know. She did not give me her real name. I have never seen or heard from her again.

I have prayed for all of them and their families.

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