Introduction to Sunburst/Sunburst


by Teshima Satoru

I know for a fact that many minorities moan their social status to be an absolute outcast. Thereby they raise white flags before voicing out their opinions. They sadden at their unfortunate destiny and disability.

Readers may suspect that I am gay. Admittingly I am, but it is just to make things simple. That's what classifications are for. Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals, Heterosexuals, or whatever! Scatologists, naturists, Bert and Ernie, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and whatever. Classification forces each individual to be highly stereo-typed.

This is a story of sunburst, and how it got me.

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I bought a pack of condoms the other day. I don't remember when. It has been a while since I had last sex. When was it? Ah, last November. Another one of rendezvous' with a do-good no-good 30 year something. I was considering a real relationship with the guy (Note: Allow me to use this term loosely. "We're openly promiscuous!" Heteroes are nasty!" as my flamboyant friend squeaks). One might say I was too young to start one, gotta play in the field a bit. I was mesmerized by the virtuous rule of having a boyfriend. Certainly two sex counts for a real relationshop. It was before the ding-dong-bangs that I said the very phrase I shouldn't have said. Never ever should I have said that!

He puts his hand around my waist and gently pats my hair with the other. His face looks somewhat concerned to see my worried face. What's the matter? If you don't want to do this, we don't have to. That is quite a vapid thing to say after having undressed me, isn't it? Then I say. "What am I to you?" He quiets himself for a second. His fingers stop strumming my hair. And I let go of myself from the embrace and address it to him once again. "I said, 'what am I to you?'" He sighs audibly and finally voices out his opinion. "I think you consider our "relationship" too far seriously than I do. What else can you expect from me, really? Are you okay? If you don't want to do this, we don't have to." Then I notice that I was just a fuck-buddy and meant nothing to him.

Oh what a beautiful piece of enlightenment that was!

After that we naturally had sex (and you'd call it a mercy fuck wouldn't you?) and ceased seeing each other for a while. We met several times afterwards but I cared less for him. I don't go for every detail. History always goes on and I haven't finished mine. I wouldn't bother to dramatize just for now. Buy me a pack of cigarettes and I'll tell-tale over vodka. However, that incident struck me as shockingly as the time I encountered a married gay man with a wife and children. Is this the true nature of the homosexuals? Do we not take relationships too seriously?

- - -

So we went into this mountain for a picnic, one chilly night in spring. I was the only fag there. 3 guys, 3 chicks and 1 gay guy. What an arrangement, hey? We spread a huge sheet and started the feast. We drank like sons of bitches, and bitches of sons. Terribly intoxicated. Then one of the girls began her own strip joint in the forest. Then naturally the other two joined. It was such a violation of the eyes for me, but not for the three beasts. A little more booze, shouts, bras, trousers, pants off, we started an Orgy.

Next thing I remember, I was dead in the van, sleeping in the back sheets. The barfy smell killed me again. Beauty and the beast is over. Reality does kill the videostars.

Like you have just said, many people refer us as promiscuous pricks. But it is wrong. We are openly promiscuous! Fucking hell, it is far better than the heteroes after that thing. I'll tell you, heteroes are nasty!

- - -

I stared at the box of condoms without thinking much and I noticed a date written on the package. It read

09. 11.30

I burst into laughter for a few seconds. Good grief, on my birthday!? Destiny is calling me; I am destined to consume it all in 20 days. Would that make me a truly self-confident gigolo if I actually accomplish that mission? It is such a random shit I just spotted. Should I try some wanking with a rubber on? No that would be horrible. Should I try making an obnoxious-looking balloon out of it? No that would make a terrible blowjob.

I opened one for fun. It was green. Green indicates life, abundance in nature, and growth. Ah not to mention jealousy. My condom is green with jealousy. It is made of rubber. One sniff. Its odor suffocates me. Two coughs. And I started unrolling the condom. It reminded me of the disposed and tattered sorry-looking condom on the side of the street. They look so protective before the use but like other disposables, they end up looking sorry. Immediately I got bored of stretching and making slits off the green guard. I looked into the box once again to check how many numbers left to spend up to my birthday. I threw out the remaining on the table, and to my amazement I instead found a folded paper amongst them. Its colour is white and opaque. I effortlessly recalled the colour image of white; pure and chaste. It reads

Negative.

It was the paper result for the HIV test I took exactly a year ago. Objects that are reminiscent are to hold, not behold. Just the look of it stirred my memory, and started to put together the fragments of the day.

- - -

Like any inspection, you cannot help but feel nervous when you take HIV tests. Even if you should know you had done nothing wrong, or always believe it had been safe, it is always nerve-wrecking. Cold sweat running down my back as if the monster was drooling his dirty saliva from the top. My hands were strangely hot like the radiation of electric power. The power of anxiety always wears one out. And the breeze of relief always cools one out of breath.

Why did I decide to take the test? Because I am experimentalist. I would snog a girl if I feel like it, just because I want an experience. I starve for lots of experiences during my lifetime. Taking a HIV test was doubtlessly another one of those experimental actions. Plus after the breakup with Mr. November, I thought it was high time I deleted off his existence with relief. It is sad when you think that the only trust he managed to catch from me could have been either STD or HIV.

It was a sunny Monday noon time. The sky was almost annoyingly blue like a computer screen in error and sunshine was hurting my eyes. A cold wind sneaked into my ears despite the earphone protection as I walked. Pixes' "Where is My Mind" was playing in sync of my insecurity.

Way out in the water/ see it swimming.

People say if your hands are cold, your heart is warm. Wise man says everything in the world consists of black and white, Yin and Yang, and Mickey and Minnie. Suppose every substance is reciprocal, why I am still cold? Where does my heart belong? Where is my mind?

Imaike Public Health Centre is located right across from the Ikeshita station. When I reached the building there was a directory for the HIV testing office. I followed the directory and headed there. One step two steps to downstairs. Could well be my stairways to heaven or devil's gate. My heart was pounding twice the speed as usual. I had to keep reminding myself that "I should be alright. This is just for experiment. There is nothing to worry about."

The room was empty and fearfully quiet. I could hear the water dropping from the sink on the wall which might have been installed for hygienic business. I moved to the counter and the office lady gave me a questionnaire sheet. As I was filling it, I noticed a poster on the wall.

Have you had a sexual intercourse with the same sex?

Dah!

When is the last time you had a sexual intercourse?

Three months ago.

Have you ever been faced to other STDs?

No and I'm not crummy.

Suddenly one of the questions started to blur and formed a new question.

Are you confident with your sexuality?

I rubbed my eyes and the question transformed into another one.

Do you feel guilty for what you have done?

...bonkers.

I shook my head once and twice to fade the illusion out. When I got back my vision lucidly, I took another glance at the man on the wall. The poster boy was smiling gaily and promoted HIV test with those fancy black leather boots and silver chain necklaces dangling off his fat neck. It was a blatant promotion for a bondage action. I laughed a bit at this clever propaganda. It nicely put me off from the pressure I was pressing to myself.

As soon as I handed in the sheet, the office lady gave me a number card with a smile as big as the poster boy. I was No. 3. I am anonymous for today and can only be referred as No. 3. How exciting.

No. 1 looked grave with fear. No. 2 seemed unpleasant and agitated. They left the room in haste. They possessed the eyes of the children; awed and guilty for what they have done. Maybe taking HIV test was embarrassing for them. Maybe they were obligated to take the test. Chances are, they have got one. There isn't an ode for the odds you cannot count, if you do not count "We are the World".

I approached the mirror on the sink. The man in the mirror is looking fatigued. I wanted to ask the reflection what and how and why he is tired. It's about time I learned how to ask myself a question; what am I to me. The man in the mirror would not smile. He only moves when I move. Sometimes I wish I could see myself from the third person. Would I make a good friendship with myself? Eh, MJ?

"Next please." Hold on, No.3 is on its way.

I entered the room of judgment. The judge smiled at me and beckoned me to the table. She had an incredible expression which makes every suspect come clean. I wonder how many people welled up their eyes by her sacred smile of assurance. She was special.

"So now I see you are nervous. Please don't be. All I need is a little blood and, the test result comes in a week. If you are negative, so be it. If you are positive, don't be negative. Being negative won't help you in any way. Don't give me that face. I know you are nervous. You just want to get it done and go." This is exactly the moment when I'd want to see myself objectively. The face that I gave her was clearly worrying and I wasn't aware of that. I looked up at the ceiling for a second. Then the angel went on,

"Do you know the difference between AIDS and HIV?"

"HIV is the virus and AIDS is the disease caused by HIV?"

"Close enough. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is one of the major, well, way too major now, STIs, sexually transmitted infections. It basically attacks your immune system. It means you will eventually be severely vulnerable to diseases and infections. When the number of your CD4 cells, which fight off illness, falls below 200 per cubic millimeters of blood, and once your body displays opportunistic infections such as pneumonia or some types of cancers, you are diagnosed with AIDS, which is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome." Then she took one breath, and gave me that smile. I silently raised my hand half in the air and chucked her a question in a refrained self-controlled tone.

"I heard it is incurable."

"Unfortunately I have to say that's correct, it is incurable. However, you can delay its symptoms by combining several kinds of medicines. It is called the Cocktail Treatment. If they follow the guidance and advice from doctors, patients can spend their lives as normal as others."

--- Hey doc, what's a normal life? Who decides normality, that I wanted to ask her but I put it under my hat. I mean, taking medicines every day periodically to battle the disease, is it normal? Is treatment of HIV as simple as a snowflake? Will it descend from the sky, slowly chucking down toward muddy ground and disappear, like it was yesterday's jam? Live with AIDS isn't like waving off the cockroach from the leftovers. It parasites your heart and slowly, slowly eats you as you age. If that's normal life, I don't want it.

She then explained the Window Period. It is the time period that it takes one person to produce enough antibody for the test to detect. It varies from person to person but averagely it's about three months. In other words, the number of people you slept with within the past three months is invalid for the HIV test. Ha Ha Ha.

At the minute she collected my blood I imagined her beaming a compassionate sorrowful expression at me. If in any case I was negative I would want her to give me compassion, discretion, consideration and above all, her smile. But now that I know I am negative, I cannot be positive about that.

- - -

I held the result sheet up in the sky as if to check fake currency. Only a red coloured letter of "Negative" came definite, leaving other Terms & Conditions transparent. And I smiled for no specific reason. Maybe it seemed more a grin.

As I was putting away these green condoms I went outside on a tacky veranda and spread my arms to embrace the sunlight. Tiptoe legs and stretched arms cared for blue sky so I gazed. And I was remembering the doctor's angelic smile. I was remembering the faces of lovers.

Lights are blinding but as I am negative I can't care less. It's the sunburst in my eyes I have found warmth. And the story always rounds up to the beginning, as every ending is the start of something. A little different, that's all.

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