So this really happened to me and I've been thinking about how to get it down to make sense of it. This is a rough cut of the scene. I'd like to put a bit more up front on it and am still thinking through a good closer for it as well.
Between July 1 and November 1 of 2007 I lost about 70 pounds, which was about 1/3 of my starting body weight. My roommate of seven years had moved back to Philly--she got a great job there--, I had turned 33 and was the heaviest I have ever been. It was a time for change.
It fell off more quickly than I expected to--I was thinking it would take about a year to lose that. I lost 10 inches off my waist and am now basically the size I was when I graduated college over a decade ago. People that know me here knew I was going to the gym every day and trying to eat healthily.
In December, right before the semester ended a friend came up to me. "Are you doing ok?" she asked. "You've lost a lot of weight." I had, I replied, still a little uncomfortable with talking about it. "But are you OK?" She persisted.
I feel great I replied. I know that the loss had been quick, so I thought I knew where she was going. I've been being healthy about it--I'm eating well, eating a lot actually, and running has gone really well. No pills, no starving. Did I look, like I was abusing myself? I was worried, maybe people don't realize that they are being unhealthy and this was an intervention.
"Oh I know that, I don't mean you have an eating disorder or anything. But. Are you OK?" She persisted. "Like your health?" She pushed a bit further.
Then it clicked.
"You think I have AIDS." I said. All the color drained from her face. It was quickly replaced by a scarlet bloom.
"Well..." she said. "You know."
"I'm not sure I do."
"Well, people have wondered, since you're. You know?" Her face asking for me to understand.
"Well it came up at the last faculty meeting. They were worried. Are worried."
"Well losing all that weight. And they know that you're. You know?"
"It's not like that, John."
"Because I'm gay. AIDS?"
"Well you are more likely, right? And you live alone now, so..."
"Wow. Ok." I paused. "Well you can tell folks that I have been too busy with work and school to make good use of my newly 'single' status."
"Sorry. I'm sorry. Hey. I'm glad you're ok."
"Thanks." I smiled. "So how'd you get stuck with asking me?"
"Everyone else was scared."
"Well thanks for caring. Good luck reporting back." We hugged.