It is said that everybody remembers what they were doing when certain famous people died. Americans supposedly remember the day that JFK died
, Scandinavians when Olof Palme
died, etc. Too young for these, I remember the day I died
Some months after meeting my girlfriend, I started thinking that perhaps she should get an AIDS test. Until we met, we had both lead our lives in a pretty wild fashion, but just before meeting her I had been tested myself (I was asked to by a girl I had slept with and saw no reason not to comply. I was dead worried of course, especially the day I went to pick up my result, but kept my faith in statistics and luck, held my breath and thanked god for those times I had merely fooled around with more or less dodgy girls). So I was clean, or at least had been until meeting my girlfriend.
Now, getting the test would in all probability be too late, but I still preferred knowing to not being able to relax.
She didn't really like the suggestion, seemed to have pushed the idea way into a far recess of her mind. Said she was too afraid, which of course got me even more worried - I didn't know many details of her past life, but she had told me enough of strange characters, travelling around europe (Spain especially), drugs, money problems. Enough to make me imagine really bad (but also exciting) things.
Not wanting to force her into anything, and since it was probably too late anyway, I let the case drop.
When she one afternoon a couple of weeks later told me that she was getting the results of her test that wedensday, at four pm, all the old worries etc. etc. flew through my mind. The week passed, wedensday came. I was working that day and we decided that I would come to her place at five. Fast forward to ringing her doorbell in her rain-wet street in that Northern European winter dusk. No answer. Ever the optimist, I had been expecting her to answer the door cheerfully. I locked myself into her apartment. It was almost dark, only candles everywhere, all her candles. A slow pop song playing, the male singers voice clear and beautiful and sad.
I froze. A thought amounting to "Now, today's the day your life changes" came stuck in my mind. Then a rush of unfinished thoughts about quitting my job, about travelling, about the girls I had known; that perhaps I deserved it, that perhaps I had broken one heart to many, betrayed one trust to many. About my girlfriend so scared to break it to me that she had run out just before I came. It all made sense at that moment.
A minute later a key turned in the apartment door, and my girlfriend entered with her most blazing smile on her face and a bottle of cheap Champagne in her hand. "Oh, sorry", she smiled, "I didn't expect you to come while I went down to the market." Still smiling, she ran into my arms.