I can remember the moment very clearly. I was sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself and crying. And all of a sudden I just stopped. I took a deep breath and I listened to myself. I had a sudden of myself when I was 13. Crying so hard because my mom had found out I was smoking again and wouldn’t let me go to the audition for The Sound of Music. I had been up for Liza’s role. And I wanted it so bad I could taste it. Once it was all over and I was over the disappointment, I knew I had acted like a big baby. Sitting on my couch, I laughed at myself. No matter what was wrong, there were better ways of dealing. That was when I finally knew I could do it. I could do it alone and be the better for it.
My little world was shattered all in one day, March 17. At least it seemed so at the The doctor told me that I most likely got the virus from contaminated food or drinking sources, but I was still afraid that he would think I had cheated on him time. About a week earlier I had gone to my doctor for the first physical/check-up I had been to since I was 12 years old. Just to be on the safe side, when she asked me which blood tests I wanted her to run, I said, “Run them all.” She had her office call me back a few days later to book another appointment to discuss my test results. At the time I figured it was nothing more complicated than the usual low iron, time-to-go-back-on-iron-vitamins thing. I think my doctor was more surprised than I was to find that I tested positive for the Hepatitus A virus.
I’m sure she did the best she could to explain it all to me, but I was in a sort-of shock state and didn’t really get any of it. I went home to the basement that I rent from my boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law and sat down at my computer and tried to research the Hepatitus bug for myself. I found TONS of stuff on Hepatitus B and C and a little on A. From what I read Hep A wasn’t really all that terrible, but the worst-case scenarios printed there sent me into a panic. I went to my parent’s house and told them what I could. Mom had a million questions that I couldn’t answer and I panicked more. What if I couldn’t have children someday without running the risk of infecting the baby? What about spreading it? I was scared. After I calmed my mother down enough to make sure she knew I wasn’t going to die I left and went to my boyfriend’s house to tell him he needed to be tested.
I was terrified of his reaction. The doctor told me that I most likely got the virus from contaminated food or drinking sources, but I was still afraid that he would think I had cheated on him. I had never given him any reason not to trust me, but all the same I was scared he’d accuse me of something I hadn’t done. Thankfully my fear was unfounded. He asked how I had got it and what we could do about it now. We talked about it and he told me he hadn’t thought, even for a second, that I had been unfaithful. He was on the midnight shift that night, but he told me that if I needed him I could call him at work and he’d come home.
I went back home. Time wore on and so did my panic. By midnight I was wreck. I called him at work and asked him to come home. He said he would and told me to meet him at his place. I grabbed my pillow and threw some stuff in a backpack, thinking that I would stay with him for the night. I was crying again by the time I had made it the few blocks to his house. I sat in the car for minute and let the tears run down. It was partly in relief this time. I wanted so badly to be with him. I finally got out of the car and walked over to the door. I used the key that he gave me over 4 years before when we had first gotten together, to unlock the door and went in. I threw my pillow on the bed and dropped my bag on the floor in his room and went into the bathroom across the hall to wash my face before he got home.
He walked in the door 15 minutes later and sat on the couch. He told me that his boss almost wouldn’t let him go. But he had come home anyway, written-up or not. He said that he thought this was important enough to tell his boss off. I was just too happy to see him at the moment to care if he had gotten in trouble. He let me talk and cry for a good while before he started to talk. I didn’t even realize what he was saying I realized that I could live with Hepatitus A just the same as I lived before, only with a few extra precautions at first. And I swear I felt my heart break when it all sank in. He was breaking up with me. After almost 5 years together and when I needed him so much, he was breaking up with me. He said that things between us hadn’t been going so well and that we needed time apart. He told me that it had nothing to do with the Hepatitus. He had been thinking of doing it for a few weeks. It was just the timing. He didn’t want to wait till after he was tested. He said that if he tested negative, he would look like an asshole. And if he tested positive, he would look like even more of an asshole. He wanted me to know he was doing it for the right reasons. I was in a state of shock, the second time that day. I said ok. Yeah. Sure. Alright. I understand. And all the while in my head I was screaming at him. Then he told me that he told his boss he’d back in 3 hours tops, and that he needed to leave soon. I grabbed the things that I had brought and even took everything of mine that had been there already and ran back to my car.
I spent the next three days feeling sorry for myself. I had to leave work early that Monday and didn’t even go in on Tuesday. I couldn’t stop crying. You have to understand that I had never been alone before. I had lived with my parents up until 6 months before. And even though we butted heads a lot, my mother and I had always been kind-of like friends. I couldn’t spend all my time at my parents. After what had happened with her brother and I, I didn’t feel comfortable talking to let alone living with my ex’s sister. And as much as I wanted to, I wouldn’t pick up the phone to call my ex. I was very angry with him. When I needed him the most he deserted me. I called him because I needed him and he dumped me! I just cried. And then I stopped. I gave a harsh laugh. I suddenly knew I could do it. And I knew I could be all the better for it.
So, I calmed down. I breathed. I forgave my ex in my heart for what he felt he needed to do. I got my mom to take me back to the doctor. And together, the two of us asked her every single question we could think of. I realized that I could live with Hepatitus A just the same as I lived before, only with a few extra precautions. And later when I went home I sat down on the couch again. But now I didn’t cry. I had never been single for more than a few weeks since I was 15 years old. And I smiled to think what it would mean for me now. I could date again! I could re-discover that wonderful feeling of getting to know someone new for the first time. And I could learn to enjoy being alone.
I went back to work the next day smiling. And when a couple weeks later I had a talk with my ex, as happy as I was to hear he wanted to be with me still, I declined. We decided that maybe after another month or so, we might see if we were ready to try again. I sat alone with myself a lot. I read a few favorite books. I went out with my friends. And I finally learned something about myself that I’d suspected all along but never had the chance to find out.
I can do it. I can do it alone. And I am the better for it.