Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Thought Picnic: On life giving us another chance

Grindr for an update
Passing through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport a few weeks ago, I had a few hours to spare. Whilst Grindr will not offer opportunity, it still remains fascinating as people publish their presence in search of liaison and probably more.
One glance at proximity talent revealed a young man I had known and met a long time ago. At the age of 23, he was diagnosed HIV positive and we just happened to be chatting online when he revealed he was fed up with life, he was suicidal, unsure of what to do and apparently had no discernible career path.
My disposition has been never to run out of hope, regardless of the circumstances one is in. Times that I have comforted myself with the thoughts and spoken words that the storms will pass, the calm will come and the sun will shine again.
Giving life another chance
It was just about the time that I embarked on a post-graduate course, I was doing new things rather than considering my situation terminal. As we talked, I began to put ideas in his head about possibilities and opportunities. More so, I stressed the fact that an HIV diagnosis was an opportunity to give life another chance rather than end it.
What I said might have been a seed of hope, I do not know. A year after he was working as a shop attendant at the airport, a number of times, I passed through the airport and I always sought him out to say hello.
Living the life of happiness
In other forums, I found he fell in love, then got married, went on holidays and soon, I left the Netherlands. For almost 8 years, I did not encounter him anywhere. The few times I had passed through Amsterdam, especially with the reconfiguration of the airport, I thought he had moved on to other things.
So, my surprise to see him on Grindr at the airport that I sent him a message that I was in the lounge and asked if he would want to meet up. He responded and said he would come round to my side of the airport.
For the telling of better stories
Our very first conversation was 14 years ago. He looked happy, healthy, thriving and satisfied with his job where he had been promoted with additional responsibilities. He was still married too and he said he could not be happier as he hinted at the original conversation we had.
I defaulted to the refrain, that we are all stories, that we may get times to tell better stories of ourselves, the things we had been through and how they have become part of a distant past.
More pertinently, having given life another chance, or was is life that gave us another chance to revise our stories for a better narrative? We are full of gratitude and we cannot deny that singular fact, above all else. For now, we are still here and we are thankful for that.


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