Hardcore Pawn: How I Dodged HIV

hard core pawn. how I dodged HIV

The Meet up

A week after the release of my breakthrough story Will You Still Cheat After This’, which hit almost four thousand reads by the way, an old friend and university mate of mine, Charles, contacted me out of the blue with quite an interesting proposition.  Charles informed me that he wanted to talk to me about an unusual personal experience he had recently encountered; what he described as the perfect follow-up to my epic breakthrough in storytelling; and all I had to do was promise to document it in such a way that thousands of people would learn from his tragedy.

We made arrangements to meet up as soon as possible.  After a couple of cancellations and postponements, mostly due to conflicting work schedules, we finally settled on lunch at StarBites, East Legon, exactly a day after Akufo-Addo had announced the re-opening of Ghana’s international air borders.

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Armed with a fully-charged phone and a pocket-sized notebook to record Charles’ account, I arrived at StarBites five minutes after the agreed time. It took me a while to spot Charles though, as he was seated in a corner with his back to the entrance.  

I made my way to the table and as I took my seat opposite him, greeted him in typical Ghanaian male fashion with a thump on the back and a “Chaley, what dey happen?” He however did not respond immediately and as I looked up at him, noticed that he seemed to be lost in thought, with a distant look in his eyes. I also couldn’t help but notice that the Charles that sat in front of me was not the same Charles that I knew. See, that Charles was good-looking and well-built as he worked out a lot.  He was smart, lively and fun to hang out with. This Charles I was looking at looked pale, had chapped lips and ashy skin.  He was also rather lean and the oversized shirt he had on did not help matters either.

I figured he was composing his thoughts and calming his nerves in preparation for the heart breaking story he had to tell me, so I sat patiently waiting for him to set the ball rolling. He spoke rather calmly and softly . “Two years ago, I would not have even hesitated to walk up to that arse and take her number, and in a number of days, she’d be screaming my name while grabbing my bedsheets.” – what an interesting way of welcoming an old friend, five minutes on and he had not responded to my greeting, and also more baffling was to hear this from someone whom I had heard was now born again and recently taken up preaching the Gospel.  

Charles drew in a deep breath, gave a quirky smile, as I grabbed my cell phone and hit the record button

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The beautiful Devil

“My story goes back to the Saturday morning after the 2016 Presidential Elections were held in Ghana. I remember taking a brisk walk down my street at North Ridge, trying to fit in with the rich old folks who had made it a daily habit.  About 800 metres in, I was bent over, panting and gasping for breath, when I heard a very soothing and cultured voice ask me “are you ok, Sir?”  I looked up and found myself staring into the most beautiful eyes I ever saw. Of course, at the time, I did not know that I had just met the devil himself in human form; a very attractive devil, perfect in every way.  She was light-skinned, had an angelic smile, curly natural hair, and a very nice figure.  In short, she was fine as hell. It took her asking me a second time if I was okay for me to realize that I had been so awestruck that I had forgotten to answer her. “I’m very well, thank you; just trying to catch my breath” and I watched her slowly break into that charming smile of hers again and that was the genesis of our relationship. Her name was Serwaa, lived only about twenty minutes away from me, and apparently was the daughter of a prominent member of Ghana’s Parliament whose name I think I would like to withhold.  We exchanged phone numbers, and the rest, they say, is history.”

“We spent so much time together in the coming days, and barely a week into our friendship, I fancied myself so in love with her that I was ready to break it off with my Araba whom I had been seeing for eight months then. Serwaa was just flawless and scarcely set a foot wrong.  I think the saying ‘beautiful inside and out’ was conceived with her in mind.  She proved to be smart, caring, supportive and considerate.  At this point, it was like she had me under some kind of spell, bro. I was willing do anything and everything for her.”

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No Sex Please

Charles paused here, took three gulps of the bottled water he had ordered and then proceeded with the story.

“Nana Asempa, I’m sure you’re wondering by now: If she was so perfect, why am I calling this story a tragedy?” he said. “See, there was one major problem I had with Serwaa – her decision to remain celibate.  I just could not understand it. I mean how!?  Anytime we were alone, she would avoid a moment of us going all the way. The farthest I could go was to kissing her. She would not allow me to touch her, and it was slowly irritating. I really wanted to taste her fruit. But she would always tell me to wait until she was ready. There were many instances she would put on tight jeans trousers when coming over, all in efforts to make my interests futile.There were times I would make headway, but she would only leave me with blue balls. I had to buy a lot of liquid soap all because of her – during which time I officially broke up with Araba.”

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She decides to leave me

“Serwaa dropped a bombshell on me one Sunday afternoon. She was planning on leaving the country to further her studies. I don’t recall a time when I’ve ever felt as devastated as I did then.  How could I possibly come to terms with the fact that in only a matter of weeks, the love of my life would be leaving me, not knowing if/when I would see her again.  I was hurt, mad and depressed all at the same time. Apparently, arrangements were already underway, courtesy of her rich dad, several months before I even stepped into the picture.  With time, I had no choice but to start accepting my fate – I was going to lose Serwaa for good. I wasn’t even contemplating a long distance relationship, as it had never worked for me.  This was worsened by the fact that we had not done the deed and I had not explored every nook and cranny of her body.”

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The Master plan  

“That’s when the idea started forming in my head. I wasn’t prepared to let her go without getting to know her in the Biblical sense and I had to do something about it.  I hit up my friend Majeed to ask for help.  Majeed was a mastermind fuckboy, capable of getting into ladies’ pants with minimal effort and liked to think of himself as the apprentice of Future Hendrix and Offset. He could boast of hundreds, if not thousands, of naked pictures and videos of his past conquests. Considering how desperately I wanted to witness the pleasurable sight of having Serwaa pinned to the corner of my bed, grabbing the sheets as she moans with pleasure and pleads for mercy, I felt I had very little choice as I turned to Majeed for help.”

“Bro, all you need is one drop of Spanish Fly” he said, and proceeded to hand me a vial of the potent aphrodisiac. Majeed, who happened to be a pharmacist also, had me totally convinced just one drop in her drink would have her arse begging to be touched by me.  Boy, how I could not wait to see the look on her face as she begged me to make love to her. It had always been a herculean task getting her to come over to my place, knowing very well that I had ulterior motives.  After days of begging, I finally managed to convince her to invite me over to hers the night before her departure. When this part was done, the rest of the plan started to fall in place.  I set out to meticulously jot down everything on a piece of paper which I carefully stashed in my wallet and consulted every now and then to make sure I was on track. I had thought of everything, and I mean everything, down to a T – the particular movies we would see; the timing; my choice of clothes; the line of conversation; the drinks; how closely I would be next to her; everything.”

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I just had to smash

“Now this is the interesting part.  On the D-Day, I went over to her end and rang the doorbell at exactly 8:00pm. She came to the door wearing a tight pair of jeans shorts, a bit above the knee; the first time I had seen her thighs. We did a quick tour of their beautifully-furnished home, finally ending in her room where we sat on the bed.  She looked at me lovingly, smiled and said “I’m going to miss you Charles, so much.” I gave a corny smile back “you this girl, you think you can just come into my life, make me fall for you and not make me shag you? I used to be called Shaggy in school in case you did not know. Just wait till I get my hands on you.” I pulled out my external drive, which as you can imagine, I had pre-loaded with tons of romantic movies, and promptly slotted it into the back of her smart television.  The next phase of the plan was the trickiest and most crucial – getting a drop of Spanish Fly in her drink without getting caught.  

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My plan hit a snag however, when She offered me a drink but declined to take one for herself. I tried to convince her, but she gave in eventually after I insisted. We watched ‘Me Before you’ that night. Now I just had to wait for the perfect opportunity to spike her drink.  My opening came sooner than expected when she stood up to visit the washroom.  Without hesitation, I jumped up, squeezed a drop of the aphrodisiac into her glass and shook it a little, exactly as directed by Majeed.  As soon as Serwaa returned to her spot on the bed by my side, she picked up her glass, took a sip, and as I watched her, I felt a sense of satisfaction, knowing that I had just aced the first part of executing my plan.  All I had to do now was sit back for the magic to occur. The tin set for me”

“It wasn’t long before I noticed some subtle changes in Serwaa’s usual demeanor towards me when we are alone.  She was starting to get all touchy-feely and for the next hour and a half while we watched the movie, we were draped all over each other, holding hands. Eventually, I felt her start to grip me tighter and rub her body against mine a little too frequently.  I was not sure if this was the time to make my move, not wanting to get ahead of myself, so I decided to wait it out a little longer although my patience was starting to wear thin. 

Immediately the movie ended, Serwaa held out arms and asked that I hug her.  That hug lasted way longer than any of my prayers. I knew for sure by this time that it was showtime.  She was ripe for the taking. I managed to release her arms from around my neck long enough to lean in for a quick kiss on her lips. The way she kept her eyes closed and a smile on her face even after I was done gave me every indication that she wanted more – the aphrodisiac had certainly delivered the expected results. I trailed soft kisses down her neck and then sucked gently on her earlobes until I could hear her moaning faintly.  In no time, she was sinking to her knees in front of me, frantically undoing my belt and unzipping my flap. Another five minutes and Serwaa was completely undressed, pushing me back on the bed and ready to jump on top of me.  This was definitely not how I had envisioned it happening.  I had anticipated a more romantic and passionate lovemaking session; not Serwaa going berserk on me and taking control of the whole situation.  It was too late though – I lost all rational thought the moment I felt her gliding my weenie into her moist, warm minge. Ten minutes later and we were both lying on our backs staring at the ceiling with chests heaving as we tried to catch our breaths.”

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The mysterious drug

It was done. I had succeeded in breaking down Serwaa’s defences.  I had tasted victory at last and I felt good. I felt so proud of myself and couldn’t hide my smile even as I turned to see Serwaa silently shedding tears as she lay by my side. She kept going on and on about how what we had done was a total mistake that she would never forgive herself for.  Honestly, at the time, I couldn’t less about her reason for saying that – I was on cloud nine.

After a while spent trying to calm Serwaa down so that we discuss the issue rationally, I stood up to go use her washroom as my tummy had suddenly started feeling funny.  Phone in hand – my source of entertainment when taking a dump – I made my way into probably the neatest toilet ever.  The place was white and so clean and has a very sweet feminine smell.  

As I sat on the toilet I did a little snooping in the medicine cabinet right next to me.  There were quite a number of medicine containers on the shelves, some I recognized, but most I didn’t.  I started randomly looking at the labels on these bottles until one in particular caught my eye.  It had a familiar picture of a red ribbon on the front, and try as I might, I just couldn’t remember when or where I had seen that before.  I picked it up, and on the back was written “fosamprenavir” – “a rather interesting name for just a normal drug” I thought.  “I couldn’t quite place my finger on it and it bothered me because I had a weird feeling about the medicine.  Suddenly I thought of a solution – Majeed is a pharmacist – I took photo of the drug, sent it to him, and asked him to look it up for me. More at ease now, I cleaned up, flushed and made my way back into the bedroom.”

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The Humiliation 

“Serwaa was huddled in the corner of the bed, just staring at the wall and I could hear her still crying.  Now was definitely not the time to bring up a drug I had seen while snooping in her medicine cabinet.  I tried again unsuccessfully to start a conversation with her as prelude to discussing what the real issue was.  She turned to look at me while I was in the middle of getting dressed to leave.  She said to me rather sternly, “What happened was a mistake you know, and, and, and… there’s something important I need to tell you.” I had never before seen Serwaa at a loss for words. I tried to look unconcerned but honestly, my heart started beating profusely, I was nervous. I attempted to wear my pants before sitting on the bed to listen to her, but I would have preferred walking naked on the streets of Accra to what was about to happen..”

 “With one leg in my pants trying hastily to get dressed, my wallet fell out of my pocket and I watched as Serwaa picked it.  She stretched out her hand to give it back without a fuss, only for her to quickly pull back upon seeing the look of horror on my face and my eagerness to have it back.  She looked at me suspiciously as she slowly began opening the wallet.  I quickly pounced onto the bed and got into a scuffle with her as I tried futilely to snatch my wallet from.  She was a lot faster and stronger than I initially anticipated and she somehow escaped my reach, moving to the far side of the room, wallet still in hand.  “What are you hiding from me” I heard her ask as she immediately opened my wallet and pulled out the sheet of paper on which I had thoroughly detailed my masterplan.  I knew right there and then that I was screwed and nothing I could say or do would make a difference.  I started looking around to locate my remaining clothes, in anticipation of her sacking me which I knew was inevitable at this moment. I looked on as her facial expressions changed from confusion to shock, disgust, and then to full on rage. All I remember from that night was her screaming every known expletive at me while throwing stuff at me.  She kicked me out of her room and asked the security man to make sure I leave as soon as possible and never be allowed into the house again.”

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I wish I had rather died 

“Now there I was, outside her door, utterly in shock and not knowing what to do. I stood there for a while trying to figure out why she kept crying, I mean this girl was not a virgin anyway. I knew what I did was wrong, but I was beginning to think she was overreacting. Just then, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. “It is probably Serwaa ready so soon to hash things out” I thought. But it wasn’t. – it was Majeed, who started yelling hysterically when I answered.

“Massa, where have you been? I have called you eight times already. Are you deaf?” How could I have heard my phone ring amidst all that drama I just went through.  But of course I was not going to tell him what had happened as I was in no mood to be laughed at. He continued, “Bro, that drug you sent me is an antiretroviral drug for amprenavir, I hope you did not bang that chic without any protection.” My heart started beating overtime.  I felt hot all of a sudden. “Can you please stop with your big English and explain to me what that means in lay man terms?” Majeed exhaled heavily and then said, “my guy, it is a drug prescribed for HIV patients undergoing therapy.” I dropped my phone.”

“I spoke to no one for three days, did not bath, did not eat all I did was sit on the floor at the corner of room, with a bottle of poison in front of me which I had been trying to drink for the past two days. For three whole days, it was just me and my thoughts.  I thought about Serwaa and how she was only trying to protect me by not giving in to my sexual advances – damn my ego and my stupid sex drive.  I had brought disgrace and embarrassment to myself and to my family.  What was I going to tell my parents now?  What would happen to my career? Who would still want to be associated with a guy that has HIV?  I didn’t want to live my life like this.  Unable to bear it anymore, I picked up the concoction and just as I was done psyching myself and about to gulp it down, I heard a loud bang on my door. There was a second, followed by a third, which sent my door crashing to the ground.  I looked up to see Majeed, along with three other men that I didn’t immediately recognize.  I tried to stand and walk over to them, but the room started spinning and I felt weak and lightheaded.  I fell to the ground and watched as everything slowly turned to black.”

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The Redemption  

At this point, Charles was literally weeping in the restaurant. I passed him some tissue and tried to comfort him. “Bro, that was my turning point. I have now given my life to Christ, and I can safely say that I couldn’t be happier. I have since then vowed to commit to encouraging young men, to abstain from sex and follow in the Lord’s ways just as our father put us on Earth to do.” I was so captivated by Charles’s story that for a few minutes I just sat there replaying it over and over in my mind.  I was convinced that my readers would absolutely love the story.  I however needed one vital piece of information. “So at when did you get tested for HIV?” I asked.  His reply totally shocked me: “I have never been able to gather the courage to do it.  It’s been almost two years now and I am still waiting for the Lord to give me the strength to walk into a hospital and get it done.”

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Truth be told, I was quite disappointed with his answer and resolved to help out as best as I could to get him tested.  I started by enquiring from a doctor friend, Dr. Vera Poku, about the processes involved. Next, I had to convince Charles.  He declined on several occasions but I kept persisting.  One time, he even agreed to it, only to get cold feet on the scheduled day and pull a no-show.  Vera, who was also driven by his story, kept trying to convince him as well, and one day decided that she would transport all the necessary equipment to Charles’ home, where he would have fewer excuses.  When the chosen day arrived – a week to his birthday – we made way to his place and after close to an hour of persuading him, he finally agreed. When I was convinced that he was going to back out this time, I decided to give them some privacy as Vera began preparations to administer the test.  I was waiting in the hallway when I heard Charles screaming, laughing and crying all at once. “Lord you have been faithful; Lord you have been faithful” he kept on repeating while he raised his hands and looked to the ceiling.  Vera kept smiling and told me he had tested negative.  My heart leaped with happiness, and I fell to my knees and joined Charles give thanks and praise to God, as a single tear rolled down my cheek.  It was quite the emotional moment.  

Charles had spent the last two years believing he had the virus, starving himself, dropping out from school and almost taking his life on many occasions. He had lost a tremendous amount of weight because he was starving himself, which led to his numerous sicknesses. But at least, he had given his life to Christ, that being the best thing coming from this sad situation. He came up to me and heaped lots of thanks and blessings onto my head for not giving up on him, and I turn made him promise to take better care of health.  Considering how events had unfolded, it only seemed apt that Charles’ upcoming birthday be celebrated in grand style, and together with Ben and Sowah, and a little help from other mutual friends, we threw him the biggest surprise birthday party we could organize.  

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Can things get any worse for me?

I was seriously talking to Jasmine, a very fine looking lady I had met at the AfroNation concert last December.  She is the daughter of a prominent minister (which I will not disclose in order to protect her identity) At the time,she was a student at the University of London, who was momentarily in town just for the holidays. Before long, Jasmine had to go back to school. I didn’t let distance deter me from getting to know her. Jasmine was quite a tough nut to crack at the beginning. I only got her to open up to me during the lock down period. We could talk for hours, practically talking about anything and everything. We had certainly started a long distance ‘something’ and I was looking forward to popping the question when she returned to Ghana. 

I had practically fallen in love with her and I was certain she liked me too. She had arrived the day before Charles’s HIV Test, so we had not had much time to spend together. 

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Charles’s celebration was held at Zen Gardens, and I did not hesitate to invite Jasmine. I was going to use the opportunity to spend some time with her, and I low-key wanted to give her our first kiss that night. But let’s not shift the attention off Charles and his second chance at life.  He was all smiles on that day and looked way better than a week before, suitably dressed in an all-white apparel.  He took the microphone at a point and regaled us with stories about his inspiring journey to priesthood. Yes, priesthood – Charles had decided to dedicate the rest of his life to being a priest. Jasmine arrived halfway through the speech and as I saw several heads turn to stare at her, I realized that I wasn’t the only blown away by just stunning she looked.  I gave her a warm hug and whispered in her ear how lucky I was to be by her side.

When Charles was through with his speech, I saw him mingling with the guests, making small talk and doling out hugs – in all the excitement surrounding the occasion, we had all definitely forgotten about the social distancing rules.  Anyway, I signalled for him to come over so I could introduce him to Jasmine. He finally did, but froze when he saw Jasmine.

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She also had a flabbergasted look on her face, and that was when I figured these two must probably know each other. These two continued to stare at each other for a few more seconds until I asked, “helloooooo, what’s going on here? Do you two know each other?” Jasmine quickly grabbed her purse and started to walk away before I could say anything. “Serwaa!” Charles shouted after her. Huh!? Serwaa? Why the hell is he calling my baby Serwaa. And no less, the name of the person that almost gave him HIV. I was about to give chase to my girl when Charles grabbed a hold of my arm and said “that’s her bro. The same Serwaa who almost ruined my life. How did you find her?” I was now in shock. “Did she have an English name?” I asked in a shaky voice.  “Yes. Jasmine.”

Next thing I remember is waking up on the floor of Zen Garden, surrounded by a number of people asking if I was okay.

I felt I was a part of a hardcore chess game and I was the only pawn.

My Mother and her secret lover
Author: Nana Asempa Kuranchie

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