Diana came back to the hostel crying. She had missed today’s lecture to go for the HIV test George wanted her to do. I was scared to see Diana crying. Diana never cried, or rather, I had never seen her crying. She was always a strong woman, the fighting type of woman. Even when she failed a course or when her high school boyfriend of many years broke up with her, she didn’t cry. I’ve known Diana for 3 years and I’ve never seen her cry or heard that she cried.

Was Diana HIV positive? Is that why she was crying? My heart began to beat faster at the thought that my best friend had HIV. Diana lay face down on her bed with her shoes still on her feet as she wept. Should I ask her what’s wrong? Should I allow her to cry it out?

I decided to go and ask her what was wrong. I went over to her bed and tapped her gently.

“What’s wrong Diana?Is it about George or the test result?”

She didn’t respond and continued crying. She chocked and started coughing. I rushed to get water for her to drink. She got up to drink the water and I could see that her eyes were red. It was obvious that she had been crying even before she came back to the room. Her hair was also looking unkempt and I wondered what could have made her look this scruffy. The Diana I know was always stylish and well-dressed.

After drinking the water, she lay down again and continued crying. I went and called Isabella to help me cajole Diana to tell us what was wrong. It took hours before Diana finally opened up to us.

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“George broke up with me,” she finally said after what seemed to be like forever.

I opened my mouth in shock and used my right palm to cover my mouth.

“What happened?” Isabella asked. Speaking in a low tone she continued, “Is it about the HIV test? Did something go wrong?”

“We did the test, George and I. We are both negative.”

I heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank God.”

“So why did he break up wuth you?” Isabella asked eager to hear the full story.

“We did other tests. Genotype, blood group, pregnancy test and some other tests.”

“Wait, are you pregnant?” I asked in fear.

She shook her head slowly. “George’s genotype is AS and I’m AS too. So he said there’s no need for us to continue the relationship since we can’t get married. We are not compatible health wise. He said he wanted to marry me that’s why he insisted we go for those tests. He even bought the ring. He wanted to propo….” Diana burst into tears again.

“He bought a ring? How did you know?” Isabella asked still curious.

“He told me after we saw the results. He showed me the ring. You needed to see how perfect that ring was. I can’t believe I just missed such a golden opportunity. I begged him. But he said he can’t risk having a child that has sickle cell.”

I could imagine how sad Diana felt. She had really wanted to get married to George because he was an Irish man. She had dreams of relocating abroad with him and settling down there. And now, all her hopes had been shattered. I was happy that the HIV test results were negative but then seeing my friend heartbroken was such a sad thing for me. I didn’t even know how to comfort to her. What do I say? How do you comfort a friend that is heartbroken?

End Note: This is a fiction story series and episode 23 of #UduakObongStorySeries