Status updates that will never be posted to Twitter or Facebook:
Scrolling through two days’ worth of #BlackAIDSDay tweets within a 100-mile radius.
Slipping on a hoodie and donning a hat and lacing up boots because suddenly that is what matters when deciding to go do this.
Standing on the east side of Broadway and looking across and waiting for the right moment to jaywalk.
Watching an unexpectedly early free shuttle bus arrive at the west-side stop, pick up waiting folks and leave.
Riding on the next bus and hanging for dear life by the overhead strap and swaying on the rain-slick floor inside and amusing at least one other passenger.
Walking into Chinatown along 9th Street over puddly sidewalks and tiny pieces of red paper left over from a week’s worth of Lunar New Year fireworks.
Thinking that not everybody starts over in January, that every day can bring something new.
Banishing the thought: No new news today, please.
Passing a coin-operated mechanical horse — another new year omen — outside a shop.
Wishing idly for a smaller body to ride it and time unencumbered by appointments and quarters to slip into slots.
Crossing the street to the address of the health services center, stepping inside and riding the elevator to the third floor.
Waiting by a pair of low black leather couches after greeting the receptionist.
Greeting C., who leads you into an office and asks how you’re doing, how’s the weather, quietly building rapport from simple human interaction.
Checking off boxes to better fill out a questionnaire C. hands you.
Answering questions about your race, gender, sexual identity, sexual history, sexual practices.
Leaning in so you can see the testing materials C. opens from a plastic pouch, and the expiration date — NOV 2015 — to be reassured.
Taking the plastic wand C. hands to you and swabbing your upper and lower gums as instructed.
Handing the wand back to C.’s purple-gloved hands for placement in a container for rapid-response testing.
Sitting and talking about anime conventions, cosplay considerations, absurdities of certain Oscar-nominated movies, impermanence of weekend plans, importance of lube.
Mentioning to C. that you wanted to see how easy it would be to get tested, to know one’s results.
Listening to C. tell you how important it is as a minority, as someone in smaller circles and communities, to take that much more care given how hard the virus hits communities of color.
Not batting an eyelash at it being Black AIDS Day, at being in an Asian health care center in Chinatown, or at C.’s self-identification as half Puerto-Rican, half-Filipino.
Acknowledging C.’s skin is still the same brown color as yours.
Watching C. leave the room and squaring your shoulders and looking down at the desk in front of you and holding your breath.
Hearing C. return to the room after what seems like only seconds and say: “Congratulations.”