Readers' Submissions

Delightful Ning Back In Farangland 8 – The Proposal



Yes, I’ll propose to her, in this submission.

I’ll do.

Just let me check up on these small details before we marry. Didn't you do that before taking The Plunge?

Before tieing up, I want to know how far I would be required to sponsor her father and her impoverished aunties, those who are currently sponsored by her? But that’s an easy one, I’m sure. I can afford that.

The other question ist: How can I marry without knowing if she has AIDS?

Sure: That she does have AIDS is extremely unlikely. Extremely unlikely except maybe contracted from – me. If I do have AIDS. I do have to falsify an acquired immune deficiency on. I have to test me, discreetly.

No worries, though. The test will be negative, and that means we are *both* negative, and then I will propose to her, and she will sigh "Yes, my dear, I am so happy", and we will call friends, family and registry office immediately after.

— AT HOME 1 —

What I call first, though, is the Public Health Center. I avoid the international word "AIDS", because Ning might understand that. On the phone I call it "HIV"; the letters in my language she will not grasp.

In spite of the heat outside I also wear a long-sleeved shirt to hide the hole from the injection. I tell her I have to go to a health insurance company to maybe change my health insurance. It's most unlikely that she does want to join me for that. And if she does notice the hole from the needle on my arm, I can tell her they checked my blood for alcohol and nicotine – or, actually, for AIDS.

— TRIP 1 —

At the car park in front of the Public Health Center, I remember something. I take off the ring, the “remember-me” ring Ning gave me, and put it into my wallet.

At the Health Center, it is a routine thing for the doctor and me. We even have an informative talk about the echinococcosis Ning and I may have contracted after our blueberry feast up in part 5; the doctor says there is a risk, and we should have a blood test and an ultrasound-check next year.

I don't get a result on the spot. I have to come back next week. They announce they won't tell me their finding on the telephone. I'll have to lie to my future wife again to go back to the Health Center to retrieve the result of my AIDS test.

When I walk out, I see a sign that the same doctor in the Public Health Center does free pregnancy and breastfeeding counselling. So if we marry, and I want to marry, and if we have babies, and we want babies, this would be a place to go – but now this same doctor knows I am concerned about being HIV-positive. So how can I bring back Ning? Once you start lying…

— AT HOME 2 —

Back home, Ning asks, "how was the insurance?" – "Just a short talk dear, but maybe I have to go again next week". – Back in the home office I remove the plaster and bury it in the trash bin. (Should I use the document shredder?) With a bit of saliva, I wipe off a small stain of blood. My caring girl never notices the small wound. Oh, and I put on the “remember-me” ring again, she didn’t notice it missing.

Do I have AIDS? I never worried, but then again – I never worried about AIDS, but now, waiting a whole week for the test result, I start to worry.

At least *she* does not deserve to contract AIDS from me. And what do I tell her if I have AIDS? We'll have to split quickly, and that in our happy holiday state of mind, where marriage is halfway in the air. Do I have to tell her everything? Or just say, "Sorry, dear, I can't…"

"What do you worry about", she says over dinner, "I see you have something in your head so much."

"Oh, nothing much, dear, just things from my work; maybe I have to go back to office after dessert."

After a few days, my worries about the test fade. On Monday she serves one more very nice dinner with lots of choices including a great dessert; she says she could well imagine to stay with me a long time. It's such a nice life with me, according to her.

This is a huge step. This is her way of proposing, actually. I fully understand that the "official proposal", in her mind, has to come from the man. But I am not yet ready. But how can I explain to her that I have to await the AIDS test result?

Funny, in the end I even delay my next call to the Public Health Center, for a few hours at least. Whatever the result, major things will – MUST – change after I got the result:
– I may be HIV-positive, so I have to stop her.
– I may be negative and propose to her.
– I may be negative and stop her anyway.

Finally I call the number from the slip and you know where I end up – at the veterinarian.

Stickman's thoughts:

Aw, Pothole, are you going to make all the readers wait a few days for the result? (At least you didn't make me wait because you sent the next part at the same time so I can read it now and everyone else can wait…!)