HIV positive. The first HIV positive patient I am forced to touch. I walk in and grab gloves. Introductions. Tasks.
HIV positive. She bleeds and there is blood. Gloves on my hands, blood on my gloves. HIV in her blood on the gloves on my hands.
Nevertheless, a conversation. She is friendly. I am friendly. I find that we could easily be friends, in another time and place, outside of healthcare.
I could see us chatting in the sandwich shop. We would share cute stories about our children and light-heartedly complain about our partners. Caught up in conversation, I temporarily forget my other tasks.
But I am at work. This is my job. I leave smiling.
My postman. My minister. My son's best friend in preschool. The hip-looking guy who makes my caramel machiatto. HIV positive. My neighbor. My friend.