The Doctor's Note
Is he HIV positive?
Illustration by Naomi Elliott
It was summer 2010, the kind of day when a trip through the subway leaves you drenched in sweat. Alas, I found myself walking briskly to escape its stinking tunnels, climbing the stairs out to the still-brutal, but blessedly breezy air above the sidewalk at 50th Street and 7th Avenue.
I’d been living in New York for only a few months and I was nowhere near capable of understanding my way around: the express vs. local trains, the filth, the wanderers—it was all still new to me. I had yet to take a wayward express train into the Bronx. That lesson would come later.
I had not one foot off the stairs that led to the station below when a man called out to me: “Hey, miss. Miss.”
Despite not knowing my way around the city, I had, regretfully, already experienced my fair share of catcalls and shameless pick-up attempts from strangers at that point. I was wary (though perhaps not wary enough) of any man who approached me on the street. These interactions rarely ended …