My black Chanel pumps and matching Chanel shoulder bag set my ensemble off just right. My jewelry was perfect. The sun’s reflection beamed out from the Pave diamonds in my ears. My three-carat diamond cross necklace, which was a gift from my sorority sister and friend, Allison Payne, draped perfectly around my neck. Catching a glimpse of myself in a store window, I was one poised woman. I felt alive. I felt totally in control. I was a power shopper in my element, and having a ball.
After hours of shopping, I glanced at my watch. It was really close to dinner time and skipping meals was a luxury I could not afford. I tore myself away and continued on to Houston’s, my favorite restaurant. On the inside, Houston’s was dark and cool, compared to the bright and sunny outdoors. The Maitre-d showed me to a booth, and as I sank down into its security, I gave God a silent “thank you” for the beautiful day. I thanked Him for the wonderful respite from this monstrous disease called AIDS, which was occupying my body. I hated all the ways AIDS tried to control and destroy me like an abusive lover, whose grasp I was not able to escape.
The steak was tender and juicy, cooked just right and the loaded potato was scrumptious. Somewhere between a forkful of steak and a bite of bread, I began to feel a somewhat familiar sensation. Something warm and liquid seemed to be easing its way out of my body. My first reaction was, “Oh no, this cannot be happening! Not here! Not now!” But as reality set in I realized that yes, it could be happening and probably was.
I started to the bathroom, determined not to panic. Diva Rule kicked in: “Beautiful people in beautiful clothes do not poop on themselves in public, and if they do, they remain in complete control of the situation.”
Sitting there, I proceeded to take my pants off. In no way was I prepared for what I saw. My pretty lace panties were completely saturated in shit that covered the entire center of my butt. My left leg was covered with it, from the top of my thigh right down into my beautiful black Chanel shoe. Needless to say, it had painted the entire inside of my St. John pants leg.
I realized that nothing less than water was going to get rid of this mess and that posed a real dilemma. This was a public bathroom with multiple stalls, and the only privacy I had was in a tiny stall with a toilet. The sink was on the other side of the room. I knew I couldn’t walk out of that stall, leg covered in shit, wearing neither pants nor panties. And what was clearest of all was that this was one huge mess!
I sat for a moment trying to regain myself. I had to think this thing through. Looking to heaven, I whispered, “God, I know you’re up there.” And really, I did know He was up there, looking down on me. But just for a brief moment, maybe a split second, I felt abandoned. I felt unprotected.
I was almost ready to engage in a total pity party, but when I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes started to water, I put my foot down. I refused to let that tear emerge from my eye. Crying was not an option. This was my day. Maybe AIDS had ambushed me and tried to ruin my clothes, but I refused to let it ruin my day or my disposition. “Sorry, AIDS,” I thought, “this is one battle you’re not going to win.”
It was the only solution possible under the circumstances, a toilet bath? Never heard of it? Neither had I.
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This Blog Post was taken from my current book, The Politics of Respectability. For more of my best blogs get your copy HERE.