October 21, 2010
I thought high school would be no different than middle school. We had the same kids, only now they seemed more adult. Aubrey was my closest friend through out elementary and junior high school. She always would flirt with guys whether they were older or younger. She was a virgin until the fifth grade and would brag about how good it was. It was easy for me to remain a virgin because I was not a follower and never did drugs or alcohol. And besides that, my dad is 6’9” and weighs about 315 pounds! How can I argue with a dad that big! Aubrey would get deeper and deeper into these “situations” with older guys. She would tease and tease until she was put in a position to “do it.” The oldest guy that she “did it” with was 27 years old. I never liked that guy. There was something about him that was eerie. Even his name was strange. S’dia. It was pronounced “es-Dee-uh” and as I said, the name was just as strange as he was. How could a 27 year old man find a fourteen year old girl attractive is beyond me, but he did. She fell right into his web of lies and deceit.
S’dia would take her out at least once or twice a week. She would lie and tell her mom that she was going to the library with friends or at the school for a function. I even lied for her a few times until my dad found out and he put a stop to it. He even told Aubrey’s mom about it, but of course she lied and said that it wasn’t true . From that point on, my dad made it clear that I couldn’t have any further contact with Aubrey. I would still sneak an instant message her from time to time. Well, little did I know that my mom and dad would monitor the instant messages that I would send. He found out about S’dia and Aubrey even more. She would explain everything in detail and I would read the instant messages amazed at what she was becoming.
Dad finally met up with Aubrey one day at the mall. He and I would go shopping together from time to time and she was there. Make-up and tight pants! She was waiting for S’dia to pick her up for their hotel run. Dad sat and talked to Aubrey for at least an hour about the dangerous game that she was playing. Having unprotected sex could get her pregnant or worse yet, kill her if she didn’t abstain from that madness. She assured dad that she was on the pill though. Dad stood up and just looked at her for a second. I’ll never forget the pain in his eyes as he spoke. Dad was a 6’9”, 300 plus pound bodybuilder with the most golden heart. He said, “Aubrey, pregnancy is your least concern.” With that said, he gave her a hug and allowed me to speak with her for a moment, and we then left the mall.
The ride home was silent, but I knew that was about to change. On cue he began to speak about the realities of the AIDS virus and the uneasy feeling he had about Aubrey. He began to ask me questions about sex, drugs and alcohol. He wouldn’t allow a yes or no answer though. I had to explain myself to him in detail. That was the educator in him! I answered question after question for him and I guess he was satisfied because he had this sneaky smile on his face after we finished talking. I actually think he was proud of me though.
He said very little after that and I was deep in my own little world as well. Now I began to worry about Aubrey even more. My dad did share with me that he had a few contacts at the police station. He contacted one of his friends and inquired about S’dia. What he found was gratifying for him and horrifying for me. He found that S’dia’s real name was Jamison Oxley. Jamison was a high school-drop out with a rap sheet as long as my arm. He was a local drug dealer, but as dad put it, small fries in terms of being a drug dealer. He had three kids with three different women, or should I say girls. His first child is eight years old, the second is five and the third child is two years old. The mothers were between 14 and 20 when the children were born. He not only fathered these kids, but he had outstanding child supports debts over $100,000. On top of all of this, he was a drug seller that began using his own drugs. Dad said that he would sell drugs to buy drugs for himself.
I don’t know when Aubrey first tried drugs though. She would never tell me and believe me, I asked often! She finally admitted to smoking weed, but I always thought that there was more to it than that. S’dia or Jamison began to sneak in Aubrey’s house to just crash from time to time. Her mom never really checked in on her and when she did, all she did was complain about what Aubrey didn’t do. She noticed a change in her though. She never did quite figure out the change until it was too late though.
I finally told Aubrey everything that my dad and I spoke of. She said, “Maki, your mom and dad are so cool! They always got your back!” I said I guess, but what’s up with this loser that you are seeing. She cut me in half with the look that she gave me. It was the look of hate! She said that I’d better stop disrespecting the father of her child! I could not believe what I just heard! Aubrey was pregnant by this loser of a boyfriend. God I hope that my dad never finds that out! Or at least not from me! We both sat there and you could hear a pin drop! For the first time in my 14 years, I didn’t know what to say! My best friend was pregnant, but there was more. When she told S’dia, he went off on her like it was her fault! She was taking the pill faithfully. Well, that’s what she claimed in the beginning. He left her after he made her feel like a piece of crap! All of a sudden she began to cry. The tears were streaming down her face like a water faucet. I started crying with her, but didn’t really know why. I asked if she told her mom and she said no. I finally convinced her to tell her mom and she agreed, but didn’t want to do it alone. Her mom wouldn’t be home from work until 9 PM. I asked could I stay for a while and initially he said no. He reminded me that he said to never go to her home again and that my punishment would be severe for disobeying him. I blurted out that she was pregnant and the phone went silent. Dad hung the phone up on me! How could he do this to me during this time? I called back, but the phone was now busy. I couldn’t believe this and now I’m crying because I’m hurt. Aubrey said, “Wow, your dad must be pretty mad right about now! Maki, just go home and I’ll deal with this later.” I told her that I would take my punishment, but I wasn’t leaving her. About ten minutes went by and there was a knock at the door. When Aubrey went to the door, she called for me. I was amazed at what I saw. My mom and dad were standing there hugging Aubrey like she was their daughter and they motioned for me to come over. Group hugs! That hug felt like it lasted for hours, but in reality it was only a minute or two. Aubrey and I cried like new born babies. Mom kept hugging Aubrey and repeated over and over that it was going to be alright. Dad paced nervously back and forth, just waiting for Aubrey’s mom to get home. Hopefully, Carla wouldn’t be drunk or high when she arrived. My grandmother died from being an alcoholic and he had very little tolerance for alcoholics. I heard him on the phone talking to his police friend and the last thing I heard him say was, “lock his ass up when you get him.” Carla arrived on schedule and knew something was wrong when she walked in the door. She said, “Aubrey, wha’chu do now?” Aubrey just put her head down and started crying again. Carla yelled at her to spit it out, but Aubrey was crying too hard to even speak. Mom asked Aubrey if she wanted her to tell Carla what happened and she said yes. After mom finished telling Carla everything, my dad said that this loser S’dia is going to jail when he’s caught. Carla said for what? She said that it was Aubrey’s fault and my dad assured her that it wasn’t just Aubrey. He explained to Carla all that he learned about S’dia, including the fact that he was a dead beat dad to three other kids. He was going to be charged with statutory rape because Aubrey was only fourteen. Carla disappeared to her bedroom for a few minutes and when she came back, we all could smell alcohol on her breath. I could see dad getting ready to explode, but he simply walked outside and waited for the police to arrive. Carla continued to ride Aubrey until my mom finally said something. Mom was easy going, but just as hard as dad when it came to us kids. She told Carla that if she spent more time at home with her daughter, she would be looking for affection from someone else. She said, “Carla, you screwed up big time, so stop blaming Aubrey for everything that has happened.” Carla began to cry and after an hour went to Aubrey and just hugged her. Again, we all started crying like there was no tomorrow! Little did we know that Aubrey’s tomorrows would be limited. The police finally arrived and took a statement. It was signed by Aubrey and her mom and I guess it stated that she had a sexual relationship with Jamison and the fact that she was pregnant. Her mom was instructed to take her to the doctor’s office and have the pregnancy test completed there. The police were going to issue a warrant for S’dia’s arrest and they would be in touch. Since there was no school the next day, my parent’s allowed me to spend the night with her. I went to the doctor’s office with them the following day and the test confirmed the pregnancy. Now she and her mother started talking about keeping the baby or getting an abortion. Aubrey knew that she made a mistake, but didn’t want to make two mistakes; the second being having an abortion. The doctor asked that she return in a few weeks and they would all discuss the options. During the next few week’s, Aubrey became kind of sickly. She was throwing up a lot and always tired. She decided during that two week period that she was going to have an abortion and start new. She said that if her mom could file bankruptcy and start fresh, then she could have an abortion. She hadn’t spoken to S’dia since he walked out on her and felt that she wouldn’t have the support of her mother. She really didn’t have a whole lot of choices in the matter. She heard that she was in the hospital, but that was only a rumor from some of her friends that ran in that circle.
She finally went to the doctor’s office and once again asked me to accompany her. Her mom picked us up from school that afternoon and even she was nervous. She asked Aubrey what she decided to do about keeping the baby. Aubrey slowly said abortion. Her mom seemed almost relieved, but didn’t say another word. The rest of the ride was like going to a funeral. Nobody said a word.
The wait at the doctor’s office was just as bad. The doctor’s office smelled like sick people! Aubrey was nervous and her mother would step outside every few minutes to have a cigarette. I asked Aubrey if she was sure and without hesitation, she said positive. After waiting for one hour and a half, she was finally given a room. About forty five minutes later a nurse came out to get me. I heard Aubrey crying so loud that I though something happened to her mom! When I finally arrived at her room, she and her mother were hugging and crying. Aubrey was 10 weeks pregnant, so I knew from my mom that she could still have the abortion, but there was something else. Aubrey let her mother go and gave me a tight hug and as I asked what was wrong, she blurted out that she had full blown AIDS! The disease attacked her system fast. We all were crying uncontrollably and although I was aware of HIV/AIDS, I never knew anyone with the disease. After everyone calmed down, the doctor stated that with medication, she could live a long life. She would need to take the medications immediately though. She began taking about 13 different pill combinations that day! After the doctor explained everything to Carla and Aubrey, questions came up about her sex partners and how she could have contracted the disease. She shared a nasty little secret with us that day. She began having sex with S’dia when she turned twelve. Twelve! I was her best friend and she never told me anything about it. I was angry and hurt because my closest friend hid such a big secret from me and for so long. My mom made me understand that Aubrey kept the secret because she was embarrassed. The doctor then proceeded to do the abortion. I waited out in the waiting room until it was done. I sat there just thinking about my friend having full blown AIDS. She was attractive, shapely, and smart plus she had a great personality. How could this happen to her? My dad called me on my cell phone to see how she was doing. I spoke to him for a moment and then he asked to speak to Carla. After a few minutes of listening, Carla began to cry. Aubrey and I both looked at each other and tried to figure out what dad was saying to her. A few minutes later she handed the phone back to me and very dryly said that the police found S’dia. He would remain in police custody after he was released from the hospital. I guess the rumor was true about him being in the hospital. Aubrey asked why S’dia was in the hospital and the answer was shocking to me. S’dia also had full blown AIDS and was actually near death as we spoke. Aubrey just sat quietly and looked out of the window. There was nothing else to say. Aubrey called me that evening and said that she would begin living life as if today was her last day. She wanted to speak to the boys that she had sex with to make sure they were tested. She began speaking to groups of junior high school and high school students about abstaining from sex. She often quoted my dad during her speaking engagements. She reminds all of the students that pregnancy is the least of their worries. At least dad knew that she heard what he was saying and often told her how proud he was of her. She taught me everything about HIV/AIDS that she learned. I could not have been more proud of my best friend. After a few months passed, Aubrey received some more shocking news from the police. S’dia was going to jail for attempted murder and statutory rape. When the judge asked him why he would purposely infect anyone with such a deadly disease, he simply said, “why not?” The judge was angry at this statement and began to say things to him that even I didn’t understand! After the judge finished this time, S’dia looked at Aubrey and three other girls that he dated, turned to the judge and said, “Your honor, drugs caused me to behave in ways that I never behaved before. I just stopped caring about life and people in general. I didn’t care about myself so how was I to care about any human being. This is the first time that I’ve been clean in over 12 years and I may not seem like it, but I really am sorry. Even my name was a joke. Once I found out I had contracted AIDS, I gave myself a name. S’dia. You see your honor, S’dia is AIDS spelled backwards and yet nobody ever caught on to that. I was telling everyone that I had AIDS, or so in my mind I felt as though I was. Actually, the joke went too far and now I’m paying for it with my life and I ‘m making at least two other people pay for it as well. I deserve to die for what I’ve done, but Aubrey and the other girl didn’t deserve this. For that your honor, do what you have to do.” The judge said that he’d set a date for sentencing at a later time once all of S’dia’s victims have come forward and get tested. At last count, over 75 people were directly or indirectly involved with S’dia or one of his lovers. We probably will never know the exact number of people that were infected because of his evil ways. Aubrey was devastated, but kept on sharing her knowledge about AIDS with everyone that was interested in learning. Unfortunately, God was to be the only one to judge Jamison. He died shortly after his court hearing. He did call Aubrey and apologize to her and their aborted baby. He asked if she could find it in her heart to forgive him. Of course with her finding Christ, that was a no brainer. She did forgive him and even though I don’t know if he went to heaven or hell, I do believe that he died peacefully knowing that Aubrey did forgive him. Aubrey and I are now 15 years old. She looks pretty good and is an AIDS advocate more-so now because she is comfortable with the disease. She lives her life as if tomorrow is not guaranteed. She is right about that. It’s not guaranteed. Even though she looks good, the disease is slowly taking a toll on her. She has lost most of her black wavy hair, but she looks great with a short cut! Only Aubrey could pull that one off! With me being her best friend and not wanting her to feel “different”, I cut my hair as well. She was shocked when she saw me because I didn’t tell her that I was going to do it. My best friend is still with me and she is still doing well. My parents still treat her as their own child and Carla is getting worse. She began drinking alcohol more and more after Aubrey was diagnosed with AIDS. She can’t handle it at all and yet Aubrey continues to live. Aubrey said that when she contracted AIDS, she began living. She refused to let the disease just take her without a fight. That’s Aubrey. That’s my friend. Out of the 75 people that were tested because of Jamison, only she and one other person tested positive. Wow! I pray that the 73 that were negative remain negative and continue to practice safe sex or not even have sex. They can learn a great deal from Aubrey. Not only can they learn what not to do, but also what to do. They can learn how to continue to live and not wait to die. They can learn that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they can still read the book. They may even enjoy the book. They can learn that AIDS never cares about color. As far as I know, all blood is red. They can learn that some lessons should not have to be lived to learn, but you can always learn as you live. That’s what my best friend teaches me every day that I open my eyes. She said recently, “Maki, everyday that I am allowed to wake up, I thank the Lord for that day. You should thank the Lord everyday as well.” I asked why she said that. She said that I was blessed and didn’t even know it. She said, “Maki, trust me, you are truly blessed.”