Aku mengetuk perlahan pintu HOD ku sebelum membukanya. “You called, Mr Jason?” tanyaku.
“Yes, give me a second and have a seat.”
Kerusi di hadapan Mr Jason ku tarik sedikit ke kebelakang sebelum aku duduk. Mr Jason yang masih lagi di dalam perbualan skype call memberikan isyarat tangan kepadaku supaya tunggu sebentar. Wap panas samar-samar keluar dari mug yang berada di antara aku dan Mr Jason. Setiap pelusuk bilik Mr Jason di penuhi dengan aroma freshly brewed coffee yang keluar dari mug tersebut. The intense and luxurious aroma of Davidoff Coffee slowly seeps into my body.
“Sorry about that. It seems like our counterpart in Sydney raised another concern.”
“About what? They are amending the requirements?”
“None of that sort.”
“Ok, I’m listening.”
“They are sending one of their guys over for 6 months as a consultant next month.”
“Next month, as in next week. Yeah, I’ve heard of that. Arrangements have been made for it. Down payment for hotel booking has been paid, and the details have been given to their side. So we are just waiting for him to get here.”
“And that’s exactly what we need to talk about.”
“What about it?”
“I’ve just been informed that, as a matter of fact, just when I was having the skype call just now, he is not staying at the hotel.”
“Huh? He doesn’t like the hotel we booked for him?”
“No, it wasn’t like that. They quoted, and I quote; “I’m not staying in a hotel for 6 months.”
“Huh? So where will he be staying then? My place? Hahahahahaha.”
Mr Jason tidak menjawab dan reaksi wajahnya tidak berubah terhadap jenaka kecilku.
“You’re pulling my leg, right?”
“Do I looked like I’m joking?”
“Ezra, I have to say that I don’t like this idea either. But, he insisted that he is not staying at a hotel. I can’t have him bunked with Eddy or Lee for 6 months, they are both married. Plus, you guys will be working closely for that QP project together.”
“But what about the hotel reservation?”
“I’ve asked Lisa to take care of it.”
“I know how do you feel. But, I hope you understand that this associate has been with us for quite some time. And, apparently, this guy is a big shot over there. So, we can’t afford to say no to him.”
“I guess this is not for a discussion, aite. Let’s hope that he likes cat.”
“It is not. Now, take this.” Kata Mr Jason sambil memberikan aku sekeping credit card miliknya.
“What’s this for?”
“I recalled that you stays in a studio apartment, and apart from your own bed, you only have sofas. Buy something comfortable for him to sleep on, pillows, towel and such. Charged it to that card. And, since he will be staying at your house, you’ll be in charge of his transportation too. So, they will be reimburse you for your hospitality.”
“It better be worth it.”
“15 hundreds per month. Australian Dollar of course.”
“Now that’s doable.”
“So what are you waiting for? Go and get those goddamned bed or whatever now. He’s coming in next week. So I’m not expecting you in the office today and maybe tomorrow until you have everything ready for him.”
“He’s really a big shot, huh.”
“Apparently he is.”
Perjalanan ke Ikea hanya mengambil masa lebih kurang hampir 20 minit dari ofis. “This is not to be expected.” Ngomelku sendirian di dalam kereta.
“How about I dumped him alone at my place, and I bunked at abang Kamahl’s?” bisikku perlahan.
“Nah, then I have to pick him up everyday to work. Subang, Ampang and office. That would be a very bad idea for 6 months. Plus, I don’t wanna have a stranger staying alone at my place.”
Aku singgah sebentar di Petronas berhampiran untuk membeli satu tin Nescafe sejuk dan sekotak Dunhill merah. Nescafe tersebut ku teguk laju dan sebatang rokok dinyalakan sebaik aku melepasi kawasan Petronas tersebut. Sungguhpun jam baru menunjukkan pukul 10.05 pagi, susur dari LDP ke Persiaran Surian agak sesak. Pemanduan yang sepatutnya hanya 10 ke 15 minit dari susur LDP ke Ikea kini mengambil masa hampir 30 minit.
Fikiran aku melayang-layang sementara kakiku menekan perlahan pedal minyak keretaku. Lama juga aku tidak berkunjung ke kawasan ini. Well, tiada sebab lagi untuk aku berkunjung ke sini. Biarlah memori itu berlalu pergi.
Aku menyalakan sebatang lagi rokok dan kereta ku pandu perlahan. Just nice, rokokku habis terbakar sejurus sebelum aku tiba di kawasan masuk parkir Ikea. Usually, I don’t really like to go to Ikea. Because of the layout. And most of the time, things that you need are located at the far end of the journey. Well, not today since the bedroom area isn’t that far off from the entrance. But still, all the walking. Sigh. Well at least I don’t have to fork out my own money and I’m also paid to be a chaperon. Let’s just hope that he’s not much of a pain in the ass. Anyway, I’m not getting something too bulky for him since he’s only here for 6 months and there’s not much space in my unit. Plus, the fact that it’s only gonna be him, for that, I think I’m gonna opt for a sofa bed.
“So, what’s nice?” tanyaku kepada diri sendiri.
Tidak banyak pilihan sofa bed yang kelihatan pada musim ini. Hanya beberapa yang menarik perhatianku. Antara yang tersedia, aku menyenarai pendek Backabro sofa bed with chaise longue dan juga Moheda corner sofa-bed. Namun, setelah melihat spesifikasi kedua-duanya yang di sediakan, aku memutuskan untuk memilih Backabro dengan pilihan warna Jonsboda Brown agar ianya tidak terlalu janggal berada di unitku. Sejurus mengambil article number untuk pilihanku ini, aku terus menyusuri setiap department di Ikea sebelum tiba di kaunter pembayaran. Aku meminta mereka untuk menghantarkan sofa bed tersebut ke rumahku pada petang ini. Setelah mengisi borang maklumat penghantaran, aku terus berjalan menuju ke Ikano yang terletak bersebelahan untuk ke Macy bagi mencari barangan yang lain.
Disebabkan aku langsung tidak mengenali Zachary, consultant yang akan menghabiskan masa 6 bulan di rumahku, aku memutuskan untuk memilih pilihan warna yang agak selamat dan matching dengan keseluruhan perabut rumahku. 2 set Charter Club Vail collection comforters, 3 mattress pads, 2 biji bantal, 3 helai Lacoste Casual Pique Bathrobe Black, Burgundy and Navy setiap satu, beberapa helai tuala mandi, satu set Art of Shaving Power Shave collection dan juga satu power adapter.
Seingat aku, aku mempunyai satu power adaptor type 1 yang kebiasaanya di gunakan di Australia, namun, entah di mana aku letakan di dalam rumahku. Plug ini agak berlainan dengan plug yang biasa di jumpai di Malaysia di mana ia adalah sejenis plug yang berbentuk 2 pin besi leper yang membentuk seakan-akan bentuk V. Plug ini juga kebiasaanya di gunakan di negara-negara seperti New Zealand, China dan beberapa negara Pasifik yang lain.
“Good morning Ezra. So, how have you been feeling lately?”
“Everything’s great I guess.”
“That’s good. Do you ever feel, lightheaded, dizzy, or giddy lately?”
“What about your bowel movement?”
“I would say, pretty much normal.”
“How many times do you usually have it in a day?”
“Once a day, twice at most.”
“What about the colour, and texture. Did you see anything funny with it?”
“With my stool? Nah. The colour looks fine. If you insists on the colour, it’s kind of yellowish brown, with sausage-shaped, smooth and soft appearance.”
“Ok, that sounds like a healthy stool and healthy digestive system. Do you have any problem urinating? Or, feels anything funny?”
“Great, can you open your mouth widely?”
Aku hanya menurut permintaan Dr Saiful, doktor yang merawat aku. Dia menggunakan tongue compressor, kayu seakan-akan batang aiskrim untuk menggerakkan lidahku untuk melihat keadaan mulutku dengan lebih jelas.
“Everything looks fine. Now just hold still, I’m going to check your nodes.” Dr Saiful yang sedang berdiri di hadapan aku perlahan-lahan merasa bahagian tengkuk ku, bermula dari belakang telinga hingga ke pangkal leher.
“Cervical seems to be ok. Now raised your arm for a while.” Sekali lagi dia jari jemarinya perlahan merasa kedua-dua bahagain ketiakku.
“Axillary, ok too. Now, I need you stand and lower down your pants.” Kemudian dia meletakan jarinya di pangkal pehaku, kedua-duanya dan menekan sedikit. “Inguinal, no problem. Now I need you to lay down on the bed, we’ll start with the full body check up. Take of your shirt, and lower down your pants too. You can keep your underwear intact.”
Dr Saiful kemudian meletakan telapak tanganya yang di depangkan sedikit di atas dadaku. Kemudian dia menggunakan jari tengah kananya untuk mengetuk perlahan jarinya yang berehat di atas dadaku. Telapak tangan kirinya berubah ke beberapa tempat di atas dadaku dan proses yang sama di ulang semua. “That sounds good. Now I’m going to check your liver.” Sekali lagi, telapak tanganya di letakan di bahagian bawah sangkar rusukku sebelum dia mengetuk jarinya ke atas jari tengahnya. Ok, I need you relax for a while, I am going to slowly push my hand under your ribcage.” Perlahan-lahan, dia menolak tanganya ke dalam di bahagian bawah sangkar rusukku.
“Try to relax, I know you have been hitting the gym, but try to relax your abdomen. Ok. Your liver seems to be in normal shape and size. So now we are going to proceed with your groin and genital area. Are you ok with that?”
“Yeah sure. Do you want me to take off my underwear?”
“Just lower it down a little bit.”
Dr Saiful kemudian perlahan memegang koteku. Dia melihat dengan teliti di bahagian kepala, batang dan perlahan-lahan memegang kedua telurku.
“Ok, everything is fine. Now, lay down in fetal position, with your back facing me.”
“Aaah, I was hoping that you’ll skip that. Hahahaha.”
“Hahaha, any specific reason for that?”
“Nothing actually. Just, it’s kinda embarassing.”
“Owh. Well, it’s to check on your prostate. But, if you don’t want me to do it, no problem, plus, your previous examination seems to be fine.”
“Nah, since you’re just done checking my penis, might as well have you check my ass too. Plus, it’s for my health anyway.”
“Ok then. Again, just relax.” Aku dapat merasakan tangan Dr Saiful yang dibaluti dengan sarung tangan getah di letakkan di kedua belah pipi punggungku. Perlahan-lahan, punggungku di jarakan dan dapat kurasakan satu jari lagi berada betul-betul di luar lubang punggungku.
“My finger is going in. Just breath normally.” Jari yang kurasakan sedikit sejuk itu perlahan menujah masuk kedalam lubang duburku. Kemudian, dia memusingkan jari itu mengikut arah jam, dan mencapai ke prostatku. Dia menekan perlahan dan merasa akan bentuk dan saiz nya. Aaaah, the reason why I’m not into prostate examination that much is, not because I feel embarassed. But, that area hasn’t been touched for quite sometime. And to have your prostate being examine, it could be a bit arousing. Hahahaha.
“Ok, we are done. Your prostate seems to be in a good shape. You can put on your clothes back and we’ll talk about your blood results.”
“Your physical is in a good shape. There’s nothing for both of us to worry about. Just that, you’re still smoking?” tanya Dr Saiful sambil mencuci tangannya dan mengeringkan dengan paper towel.
“Yeah. Hahahaha. That’s one of my dirty indulgence.”
“Your lungs are in a good shape. But, again, try to cut down on smoking, okay.”
“That would be hard, I have to say.”
“It is, but not impossible. Or at least, try to cut down a little bit.”
Aku hanya tersenyum akan nasihat dari Dr Saiful itu.
“I’ve taken a look at your blood results before you came in just now, and everything seems to be in a good shape.”
“That’s good to know. What is my current CD4 reading?”
“Your CD4 count has been steadily increasing since you started ARV. And the current reading is, 781, with 23% of total lymphocytes. That is practically the average reading of healthy, or HIV negative people. Your HIV virus is being well suppressed, being undetectable up until now. Practically, the chances of you transmitting HIV to anyone is close to none. So, keep that up.”
“Ok, that’s great.”
“But that doesn’t mean that you can go and have unprotected sex, okay.”
“Yeah. I understand that.”
“Your liver function test, renal function and full blood count are all normal. Glucose level is also normal, together with your lipid profile. Just that, your triglycerides is slightly higher than your previous results. But, it’s still within the normal range.”
“So, there is nothing to worry about?”
“None. You are a healthy young man. Now, let’s talk more about HIV. You have been diagnosed since 2009, right. So it has been for few years.”
“Yeah. November 4th, 2009 to be exact.”
“It’s great that you remember the exact date.”
“Well, I could never ever erase that date.”
“How do you feel about about your HIV diagnosis?”
“Let’s talk about when you just found out.”
“Do you regret it?”
“And how do you feel now? Do you still feel the same thing?”
“Nah. I’ve stop regretting for a long time. And if I could say it to myself, I take it as a wake up call. To better protecting myself, and to be a better person.”
“Are you saying that you weren’t a good guy to begin with?”
“No, no. But, previously, I stopped taking care of myself, and I stopped making myself better, physically, mentally and all.”
“That’s good. You have to remember that, and you have to understand that, being HIV positive should never put a stop to yourself. Being HIV positive should never make you feel bad about yourself. And being HIV positive should never put a stop on things that you love to do. Except for bareback sex, that is.”
“Hahahaha. That’s not a problem for me.”
“Are you still sexually active?”
“When was the last time you had sex?”
“Anything that makes you stop having sex?”
“Well, it’s not that I don’t want to have sex. I do. In fact I have been jerking off to relieve my lust. But, but...”
“I think, my priority has changed. I don’t feel like having sex buddies or one night stand.”
“So you’re thinking on settle down?”
“Maybe. But then again, sex is no longer a priority.”
“Do you ever feel bad? About having sex?”
“No. Well, I did at first, I mean after I was diagnosed. But, now, I don’t think I feel the say way.”
“So you’re ok having sex, with your current status?”
“Yeah. Plus, as you said earlier, with my undetectable viral load, it’s almost impossible for me to infect others.”
“Yes. And you are healthier than most of the gay guys I know of. I’m glad that you no longer living in the past, and the fact that you have accepted the fact that you are HIV positive. You are doing great taking care of yourself. I wished most of my patients are like you.”
“You’re welcome. I know that taking the same medicines everyday throughout your life might tire you down. So, how are you doing with that?”
“I admit that there are times when I was talking to myself, that I’m done with it. There are times when I’ve been staring at it for few minutes. Well, my record isn’t 100%, but I’ve never miss my dose and the most, I took it 5 or 10 minutes later than my designated date.”
“I don’t see any problem with that at all. I know, it’s a lifetime commitment, but it’s easier said than done. You don’t have to be a Nazi, , while you have the pill in your hand, waiting for the time to come. 5 to 10 minutes late is ok.
“That’s a relief.“
“Do you have any other queries?”
“Not at the moment.”