Justin's Life... June 11-14, 1996

Justin's Life... June 11-14, 1996

June 11, 1996


My life this past week has been total chaos: I'll try to find it in me to detail it all.

June 12, 1996

1:35AM Technically June 13, 1996

I'm starting to think I'll never get caught up, but here goes my best attempt.

On Monday, June 3rd, I had dinner with Christopher, a diary reader. He was in town on business and wanted to see me: I figured "why not?" After meeting at 9PM at the Sheraton (where he was staying), we went to Chili's and I had dinner while he watched. -- There aren't really that many places in Boston just to sit and talk, and besides, we had loosely agreed to get together for dinner. I couldn't help it that he'd already eaten with his brother. --

So anyway, I had dinner, he had dessert, and then we headed to the Expresso Royale coffee shop on Newbury St. There, we talked while I drank a hot milk & honey. For most of the night, especially at the coffee house, I had the strongest sense of deja vu. I know I'd never met him before, and we'd only exchanged a few e-mails, but the sensation was there, nonetheless.

Tuesday morning, I woke and went to the Fenway Community Health Center. In fact, Tuesday morning was my second visit. I'd been there two weeks before but didn't write about it online for the rare chance that the results weren't as I expected. I did, however, write down what I was feeling:

Well, it's 9:46AM and I'm dressed and waiting to leave for my HIV test at 11AM. I'm not that nervous about it, no where near as nervous as when I called last week to make the appointment, but I can feel myself getting warm.

Speaking of last week, I'd thought for a good while about whether or not to get a test. Larry told me that I was crazy, that there's no way I needed one, and part of me knew that as well. The more worrisome, "I'm gonna get AIDS and perpetuate the stereotype" part, though, kept thinking in the back of my mind that I should. I finally decided the internal debate was pointless. I'd get the test and calm my paranoia without harming anyone.

So, I looked through Bay Windows to find the number listed under Fenway Community Health Center - Alternative Testing Site.....267-0159 I'd had my first test done about a year and a half ago when I was ULTRA paranoid, so I knew the questions I would have to answer... all personal.

The first time I called, I got the machine. It said that testing would take about two weeks from the test and currently there was a two week wait for the test to be administered. The recording also said that the test was free and anonymous. -- Last time, the test cost over $205 at the New England Medical Center.

A few minutes passed and I called again. This time a pleasant voiced lady answered the phone and asked if she could help me.

"I need to get an HIV test," I said with a voice so un-nervous, I shocked myself.

"Are you in a place where you can talk freely?" she asked. When I said yes, she proceeded to ask several other questions, like had I been tested before, was I worried about a sexual transmission, did I know about the three month waiting period after the last risky sexual encounter, and had I been with men, women, or both. That was the most intimate question she asked. I assumed I'd have to answer specifics as to what I'd done and not done, but she didn't ask anything more... perhaps those questions will come when I arrive there in 45 minutes.

Once the questioning was done, she asked when I'd like to come in and said the nights were booked for about two weeks, but that she could get me in during the daytime earlier.

"I have a four o'clock with Vincent on Monday."

"Vincent?" I thought to myself. His name sounded gay and all I could think was the some old queen was going to be sitting in the doctor's office, giving me the eye. I knew I'd be more comfortable with a woman, even if she were a bull dyke and more masculine than most straight guys. And so, I didn't respond to the first inquiry, thinking she would go on to the next available appointment.

"I've got a 10, 11, and 4 on Tuesday?" she said without any prompting from me.

"Eleven would be good," I answered back. She then proceeded to ask my birthdate for identification purposes and give me directions to the clinic. I had no idea it was so close... near Tower Records... closer than any other place I've mentioned online.

Ending her directions, she said I should go in the front door and tell the attendant that I had an eleven o'clock appointment with Vincent.

I said thank you and we said good-bye. When I hung up the phone, I was on a high. I'd actually followed through and made the apointment and it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. The lady was even pleasant.

And now, I'm getting ready to go for the actual needle prick.


With each passing minute, I'm finding it harder and harder to breathe. There's a huge lump in my throat and focusing enough to type this paragraph is taking a lot of energy.


OK, I've calmed down and am now putting my shoes on.


Well, I arrived at the testing center at a few minutes before eleven. At the front desk, a man walked by and asked if he could help me. I said that I had an eleven o'clock appointment with Vincent and he directed me to the receptionist on the second floor.

When I got to the second floor receptionist, I almost said, "I'm Justin. I have an 11 o'clock appointment with Vincent." but as I opened my mouth, I realized she didn't know my name.

She told me to have a seat after I explained why I was there, and a few seconds later, a man in his 40's, of average build and graying hair, walked over to me. We went back into his office and he confirmed my birthdate.

He added that he wasn't allowed to ask my name, and I realized perhaps that was my hint to volunteer it. I, however, didn't.

He asked me why I'd decided to get tested and explained that I didn't have to get tested just because I'd made the appointment. He explained how a lot of people scheduled themselves to be tested, but weren't really at risk. The logical part of me knew that I wasn't at risk, but I wanted the test to calm the paranoid part. I figured if I'd explained my true sexual experiences, he'd tell me there was no need to throw away $70 of the state's money and send me on my way. I'd already psyched myself up to get the test, so I lied... and lied... and lied. If I'd been Pinnochio, I would have poked his eye out. I calculated and figured and made up all kinds of stuff. I even responded to his anal sex questions with a "yes". Knowing that there's a three month period before the antibodies show up, I quickly picked Dececember as the date when I'd last had sexual relations so that I'd get the test. You name it: I lied about it. Probably the only true thing during the entire meeting was my birthdate.

After thirty minutes of digging a deep hole of one lie on top of another, I managed to leave Vincent's office without tripping over myself. I went downstairs with a piece of paper where my blood would be drawn and barcoded.

After sitting in the chair for a few minutes, the lady asked, "Who's first?"

"I am," I said back.

I then proceeded to sit in a chair, roll up my sleeve, and place my left arm on the rest. She tied a rubber strap around my upper arm then swabbed the bend with an alcohol pad. After putting on some gloves, she got the needle, syringe, and vial and poked the needle into my arm. When the blood had reached the other end, into the syringe, she placed the vial onto the end and the blood went inside.

Five seconds later, it was over and I had a band-aid on my arm and left.

I'm scheduled to go back in two weeks.

Two Weeks Later - 10:35AM

It's two weeks later and I'm supposed to be at Vincent's office at 11AM. I'm nervous... so much, I'm gagging. I mean, I can't really think of any one brief moment that could change your life so drastically as hearing that you're positive when you get back your HIV test results.

After sitting in the waiting room for around ten minutes, Vincent came out and led me back to his office. He said that I didn't have to get the results if I'd changed my mind, but I said that I hadn't. He asked me to confirm the barcode on the paper I took with me during the first visit matched the barcode printed on the results. When I said they matched, he unfolded the paper to reveal "Negative" written in large letters across the middle of the paper. Koool

Of course, I was ready to go after that, but the obligatory "So what are you going to different now?" questions ensued. I answered about five minutes worth then he said I was free to go.

On the walk back, I realized that my AIDS paranoia is just that... I think it's sorta like driving a car. When you first start, you're extremely nervous that you're going to wreck. But after you've been driving for a few years, you don't worry about wrecking hardly at all.

Tuesday afternoon, I passed the landlady in the alleyway beside my apartment and when she asked how I was doing, I explained that I got into USC and that I needed to move out September 1st, a month early. She said "ahh" and of how she hated to see such a good tenant leave. I joked about how I couldn't commute to California and that was it. She went on her way. She didn't say "OK" or "Come by and see me in the office tomorrow" or anything.

Wednesday, as I was walking around in my boxers, the door buzzed. I answered and the voice said it was "Symphony Properties."

"And you're here for?"

They wanted to show the apartment. I'd only mentioned it to the landlady in passing. My apartment was a total mess and I wasn't even dressed. I said I'd be right down, quickly put a shirt & pants on, then pushed things out of the center of the floor. Before I'd had time to even fasten the belt that was in already in my jeans, there was a knock on the door.

I opened it and showed my apartment to these total strangers. I wasn't totally comfortable with the idea. Uninvited guests seeing my personal stuff, my pictures on the wall, my clothes in the floor, my mess in the sink. I'm an open person, but being forced to share my space and have it scrutinized by people off the street is not something I'm keen on.

When they left a few minutes later, I began cleaning and storing all the things I didn't want scrutinized. I mean, before the whole deal was over three days later, I'd had eight different sets of people look in my closets. Several of them remarked about how they were crammed full. They're my closets, where I store my stuff. Heck, by the time the parade was over, I'd had comments on the picture sitting above my computer, on my CD's, on my water fountain, on everything. I was not a happy camper.

Thursday night, Curt installed the .cgi script to run the Members Edition and we had dinner. I thanked him several times and gave him a few kisses on the cheek.

Friday, I declared a day without communication. I decided there was too much stress in my life and I just needed a day entirely to myself, with no one telling me what they thought was right or what I should do. I didn't check e-mail nor answer the phone.

Late Friday night, (technically Saturday), I read e-mail and found a long letter from Larry. Everything was better. Also, before I went to bed, I unveiled Justin's Koool Page: Members Edition. By 5:30AM, the first person had already signed up.

Saturday, I began renting what have become a series of movies Larry, Dan, and Don feel I should watch before getting to USC. (Wonder why I ever felt like too many people were telling me what to do?) Saturday, I watched The Last Picture Show and Silkwood. Sunday, I watched Coal Miner's Daughter and The Exorcist and so on. -- And to tell the truth, they haven't been nearly as painful as I anticipated.

Monday, I hung out with Curt. We were at his place when I started hugging on him. He said that he was uncomfortable in the living room, so we went upstairs to his bedroom. We played around for a while then we heard Curt's roommate come home. There was absolutely nothing two straight guys could have been doing in Curt's room. It hasn't a TV or a computer, so Curt and I stayed quiet until his roommate was in the shower. We then snuck downstairs and when Curt's roommate came down a few minutes later, Curt said the two of us had been out hiking. He went on to elaborate as to the "where" and so forth. When his roommate was out of earshot, I gave Curt a pretty hard time. I mean, it's one thing to simply keep quiet, but it's another to outright lie and to volunteer extra untrue information. Curt apologized, but I told him I knew where he was coming from... it's just been a long time since I've dealt with that feeling of unworthiness, and it wasn't something I enjoyed.

Yesterday, I got a graduation invitation in the mail from Rob. He'd said that he wanted me to attend about a month ago, but I figured since I hadn't talked with him nor received an invitation, he'd changed his mind. (After all, I'm pretty sure I won't be going to that Tori Amos concert... (the one good thing about Chuck and I not working out I can't believe people are so crazy for that crap.)) To be totally honest, I didn't want to spend four hours listening to names of people I didn't even know when I didn't think Rob really wanted me to be there. If we'd talked within the last month or if I'd gotten an invitation before the last minute, perhaps my opinion would be different, but you can't ask someone to be bored out of their mind for four hours after not speaking to them forever or after sorta inviting them then deciding at the last minute to go ahead. And it's not that I'm too self-centered, as Rob suggested. I went to Curt's track award ceremony just because he wanted me to. The difference is that Curt did want me to attend, Curt has been there for me, and Curt wanted me to know some of the people in his life. At the track ceremony, I put names to faces and Curt even introduced me as a friend from Boston. What benefit will there be to anyone if I sit in the Fleet Center, alone, and listen to the names of over 2000 students? And so, yet again, Rob and I have come to sparring. Perhaps he and Chuck will hook up since they'll both be in San Francisco.

Last night, Curt came over and spent the night: He wore one of my shirts to work this morning.

And today, after Curt got off work, we hung out. We played on the computer for a while, had dinner at Whisky's Smokehouse, then ice cream at J.P. Licks. He headed home shortly thereafter and I began this. ... and now I'm finally caught up

June 14, 1996

12:17PM Technically June 15, 1996

Lately, I've been horny: There's no better way to describe it. Perhaps it's because of summer and the shirtless guys walking down the street, perhaps not. All I know is that I've been drooling more and more lately and have come to a few conclusions.

Last night, as I was walking back to my apartment, I passed a few cute guys and got to thinking. I'm a 20 year old virgin. Sure, I've fooled around and stuff, but I've never actually had sex... 20 and still a virgin. There's a time when being a virgin is something to be proud of, "Oh, I held out" or whatever, but then there's that age when being a virgin starts getting pathetic, no matter how cute you are or what your reasons. I think I'm starting to reach that age.

I'm twenty. No longer a teenager. My parents treat me like an adult. Larry treats me like an adult. In fact, everyone treats me like an adult, so why do I think of myself as less than adult regarding sex? I say that I'm holding out for that Mr. Perfect, but is it really that I'm scared having sex will be the final passing into adulthood? I know I've matured a lot in the past year, but I can't figure out why I'm holding out this area. Oh well, I think my reluctance will be overpowered by desire soon enough.

In fact, later last night, I decided to go to Tower and rent one of those artsy erotic videos that I mentioned a while back. When I got there, I looked through the gay section to find none that looked interesting and settled instead on a video called Man for Man: Volume 1. It had an "18+ X-rated" sticker on it, so I figured it might help to give me something to focus on --I'm sure you know what I mean.

Of course, I couldn't just get an x-rated movie. I had to find another to somehow mask it. (Like an employee wouldn't notice an X-rated gay video just because another video was rented with it. Crazy, I know, but I know I'm not the only person that's ever done as much. )

So anyway, I soon found another video called Making Love. It was gay, but a mainstream movie from 1982 with starring Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels & Scarecrow and Mrs. King), Harry Hamlin(L.A. Law), and Michael Ontkean (Twin Peaks & Postcards From The Edge). I took them to the checkout area and got in line... but while I was waiting, I noticed a clerk behind the counter was someone I knew from BU. I couldn't remember her name, but I'd seen her in there earlier this week and we'd recognized each other enough to talk. Aghhh! I didn't want to rent an adult video from someone who knew me, but she was accepting returns, so I stood in line and hoped the return line would be long enough to keep her from doing rentals.

I then started looking at the rental register clerks. Tower clerks are never ones to be "normal" looking, but one looked like a Charles Manson wannabe, the second looked like a black football line-backer and the third had no hair nor eyebrows. If I had my choice, I would have picked the hairless guy on the end, and as luck would have it, it was he who said "Next rental" when I was next in line.

I put my two videos on the counter non-chalantly; (Man For Man on the bottom, of course) and stood as he scanned the barcodes. He looked up and smiled: Yes, we had a team player. He said something and I wasn't quite sure what, so I simply mumbled back. He kept talking, it now being obvious that he was letting me know that he was a team player, and after I signing the receipt, he told me "Bye".

I came back to my apartment and put Man For Man in the V.C.R. ASAP. It sucked. $3.49, more than twice the rental of Making Love, and it wasn't worth 99 cents. Before long, it was over and I started Making Love. -- I realize as I write that, I'd much prefer to write, "and I started making love." Maybe some day soon.

Anyway, I watched the second movie and it was really koool. It had been a while since I'd seen an inspiring gay movie, and I was impressed that one from 1982 was so "progressive." When it was done, I talked with Larry and Lance for a good while then went to bed.

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© 1996 Justin Clouse

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