RIPPLES - Episode 2

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - positive, HIV AIDS, HIV, AIDS, tested, test, hospital, counselor, negative, sex, we could make love with condoms, matrimonial home, cousin, girlfriend, matrimonial home.

With how healthy I looked, the fear of being HIV positive waned with each passing day. After the proposal, I wasn’t long before Max and I exchanged marital vows. You should have seen me; I was in cloud nine. To me, God had finally rolled away my pains of the past. I was certain God had healed me, because Max worked in an organization where the staff of the company were regularly tested for HIV and other sicknesses. He would often come home and tell me, “Babe, they tested us again today for HIV and I am still negative. I wonder when they would stop testing me. I am beginning to think my bosses are paranoid.” Each time he told me he was tested for HIV AIDS and the result came out negative, I felt like giving God some praise. His regular negative result to the HIV tests were proofs I had been healed. However, we were having a problem with my getting pregnant. With the marriage being young, that was no issue. Things were so fine I forgot I had at some point tested positive to HIV.

My near perfect world was rattled when Max’s friend’s wife died of HIV AIDS. I knew the lady and so her death came across to me as a shock. Several thoughts plagued my mind. When I would return to school from my matrimonial home, I would spend a lot of time wondering if I would someday come down with AIDS. I had to take my medications seriously and hoped for the best. However, the negative thoughts on my mind would not let me be, so I decided to ask Max a few questions about HIV, since he and his colleagues were regularly tested. If I knew any better, I would never have asked Max those questions. From simple questions about AIDS, I drifted deeper into the sort of questions which spooked Max out. The fact that my questions were much and were asked on regular basis, got Max worried. He showed no sign he had become suspicious of me. Being simple as I was, I didn’t know I had scared the shit out of him. One night, he suggested we go for some medical tests to find out why I was still to get pregnant after six months of our marriage.

He made the focus of the tests to be on himself. I couldn’t see what he was up to, gladly I accepted his offer and we went for the tests. At the hospital, we were tested for a lot of things and without my knowledge, Max included HIV tests for the two of us. I was shocked when I was told I was HIV positive. I had no clue I was tested for that. Strangely enough, Max tested negative to HIV. It was hard to believe. As a couple, we were having unprotected sex and yet he tested negative and I tested positive. Before I could find the strength to tell Max that I was HIV positive before we even got married, he suggested we go for another test in some other hospital, I was eager to go with him, hoping that the second test would give us a different result. Sadly, it did not. Yet again, I tested positive and Max tested negative. This time I had to tell Max the truth. As you would expect he was disappointed. I did my best to convince him that I thought God had healed me since I did not come down with full blown HIV case.

I narrated everything I had been through to him and told him I had no intention to mislead him. He was hurt, scared and worst of all, afraid of me. To save our marriage, we began to seek counselors we could talk to. Eventually we met a counselor who explained to us why I could be HIV positive and Max negative. In his explanations, we learnt it was possible because we were what he described as discordant couple. This meant I could have HIV and still not pass it easily to my husband, especially with my drugs. The counselor told us we could still live together and have babies without Max getting infected. Weeks after we met this counselor, I noticed that Max became aloof. He literally shut me out of his life. He began to starve me of love and sex. When it reached a point I could not bear, I brought it up and asked him how we would be able to make babies if we were not making love. From what I learnt during that conversation, Max was afraid of making love to me. He was terrified of contracting HIV AIDS. He would not make love to me even wearing condoms. The counselor had told us we could make love with condoms on regular days and that during my period he could go into me without condoms so we could make babies, but Max had other ideas.

My ordeal continued and got worse when Max’s cousin, Damian, visited us. It didn’t take long for Damian to notice his brother had shut me out of his life. From the little I had seen of Damian, he was a womanizer. Soon he was all over me, helping me in the kitchen, dropping me off to school and bringing me back. He slotted perfectly into the space Max had vacated, showing me the care and love which Max had denied me for long. Being the wife of the house, I would cook food and serve my husband first before taking Damian’s food to him. One day after serving me husband, I took Damian’s food to him in his room. After setting the food down for him, he grabbed me in a sexual manner. I was shocked and broke loose from him. He was however encouraged by the fact that I did not report him to my husband or warned him never to do that again. He saw the weakness in me when he took hold of me. By this time, I was living in hell in my matrimonial home. With what he must have seen that day, Damian began to grab and fondle me often. Soon, we were exchanging WhatsApp and text messages. I was happy that a man could even show me some attention and love. While all this happened in my matrimonial home, Max showed no sign he noticed what was happening between me and his cousin.

On a certain day, I was in school when Damian called me and explained that he was having a problem with his girlfriend and asked if I could help talk to her. I offered to help, and about half an hour later, Damian arrived to pick me up to go see his girlfriend. Instead of going to see his girlfriend, he drove to a hotel and paid for a room. This was the point I wanted to ask questions but decided not to. When we went into the hotel room, I was expecting his girlfriend to join us. If I tell you I did not suspect that Damian could be up to something else, I would be lying. However, I clung unto the belief that he would not be stupid enough to do that. While I waited for Damian’s girlfriend to show up, he sprang on me for sex. I was not entirely surprised. I withstood him and told him that would never happen. I had my reasons for saying no, even though my body cried out for it. My reasons were that I was married to his brother and was HIV positive.

I should have fled the room when I had talked sense into Damian, instead I trusted myself. While I waited for Damian’s girlfriend who never showed up, Damian went back to begging me for sex. This time I caved in. All the senses in me took sides with Damian. It had been very long since my husband touched me, and worst still, Damian slept with me without protection. Having got that intimate with Damian, we became close in every sense.  Without knowing, I ended up making a fool of myself again. Max had seen what was going on between me and his cousin and simply pretended he did not. With how close I had become with his cousin, Max decided to use his connection in my preferred GSM carrier network to access all my text and voice data, and also had my phone bugged. It was so bad that if I made or received a call, Max would listen in and hear all my conversations. Even though he read all the text message I exchanged with his cousin and listened to all our conversations, he still pretended he knew nothing and allowed me to continue my folly with his cousin who was living in our matrimonial home.

I can’t say what Max’s game plan was. Maybe he was using his cousin to achieve an end or perhaps it was all coincidental. Whatever it was, Max definitely had a plan. My shameful affair with Damian came to an end when Max confronted me one night about having had sex with his cousin. I denied it vehemently, but was embarrassed when Max showed me the document containing all the text message I had exchanged with his cousin and even the one where we talked about having sex in a hotel room. I wanted the ground to swallow me in that moment. Max was decisive, he had found the chance to get out of the marriage with me and was determined to take it. He quickly sent his cousin out of the house and sent me back to my parents. He told me he would visit my parents soon. While I expected him, he went to our counselor and told him all his plans to tell my parents that I was HIV positive. Thankfully the counselor persuaded him not to reveal my HIV status to my parents. The stigma of my being HIV positive would also have affected him as my husband, had he made it public. He had to use my infidelity as grounds to dissolve the marriage. When he came, he told my parents that I had slept with his cousin and gave them overwhelming evidence to prove it.

Like I said earlier, Max had his plan well thought out. Shortly after he sent me packing, he left Nigeria for US. In the US he found himself a citizen whom he married to get his papers. As for me, my miseries continued in multiplied proportions. The end of the marriage marked the most difficult period in my life. Suddenly, I had no financial backing to finish my studies and men were all over me to take advantage of me for the money they could give me. This time, I used my anger and frustration very well and said a resounding no to all of them. However, my trying times were not yet over.

The above true life story was written by Linda Ogbe (actual name withheld) and was edited by editorial team. Linda’s story made some of us to cry a river. You will find loads of lessons in her true life story.


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RIPPLES - Episode 2
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - positive, HIV AIDS, HIV, AIDS, tested, test, hospital, counselor, negative, sex, we could make love with condoms, matrimonial home, cousin, girlfriend, matrimonial home. An African Literary Blog
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