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This Apology Has Been Long Overdue

By Tim Hinkhouse

November 29, 2015

Hello there, readers. Do you ever listen to a song and it brings back a memory whether it's good or bad? I love all types of music, but one artist stands out in particular. Bon Jovi, the album Slippery When Wet. Back in the late '80s when this was relevant, I was dating this girl I'll call "Tricia." I was so in love with her and she was in love with me too. Just like every young couple we had our ups and downs. Looking back on our relationship, she didn't deserve someone like me in her life. She could have done so much better!

The first time we broke up I went to San Francisco. The whole time I was there I couldn't stop thinking about her. She had left quite an impression on me. I still engaged in dangerous behaviors trying to get her out of my mind, but to no avail. I could not. I was staying with a lady living in S.F. One day I called Tricia's best friend -- I'll call her "Jenny" -- to see how she was doing and get an update on the girl I still loved. We talked a while, mostly about how Tricia was doing. Before we hung up, Jenny asked for the number I could be reached at so I left it with her.

A few days or a week had passed and a call came for me from Tricia who wanted to talk to me. I don't remember how long we talked on the phone, but I do remember the feelings that got stirred up in me while talking to her. I can feel them writing this now. Long story short, I took the first thing smoking out of S.F. and headed back to Oregon to be with the girl I had loved. What I did not know was that I was now infected with HIV and was about to negatively impact the life of the girl I had professed to love.

Upon getting back in town everything between us was going good. The make-up sex was memorable after being apart six or seven months. Before I got a job I needed money, so I would go to the plasma center twice a week. This was how I found out about my HIV status. My second visit back I was told that my blood reacted to the HIV virus and I should get tested. I made an appointment with the health department and got tested. After a couple of weeks I was given the news and was told I had to call my girlfriend to tell her the news. The fact that I had to call and tell her about my status was going to be hard and, worst of all, I could have ended her life, which tore me apart inside. I really felt like a monster. I was surprised that she took the news as well as she did. She said she loved me and would be by my side always. She was someone special and I didn't deserve it!

Somehow we moved past this and we saw each other as much as we could even though she lived an hour away. When I was working graveyard, pumping gas at a 24-hour mart, she would drive from her house to come see me. I either found my true love or she was with me because she felt she couldn't do any better now that she was tainted. Sometime later that summer we broke up in a very nasty way. Hurtful words were used. There were words used she never deserved to hear me say. After we broke up, we saw each other once again and she told me that she had tested positive for HIV. If I could undo the past I would take back all the harmful things I've said and done that caused her or anyone harm.

She could have been my one shot at true love. I am still filled with regret that I was the reason we broke up. Then she had to deal with an HIV diagnosis too. Had I just done the right thing, I would have married her. Back then at age 20, I would not have been a good husband. I am sorry Tricia for everything and hurting you. I wish you peace, happiness, love and all the great things you deserve! This apology has been long overdue.

I would say that our song was "Never Say Goodbye" by Bon Jovi. No matter what the song is from that album I hear I'll always think about her. ... Isn't it funny how music will make you remember significant things like former lovers, places you've been, or even certain foods?

Got something you want to share with me? What song brings back a pleasant memory for you? More to come ...

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HIV on the Inside

Tim Hinkhouse

Tim Hinkhouse

I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.

Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
Two Rivers Correctional Inst.
82911 Beach Access Rd.
Umatilla, OR 97882

You can also email me at hi.timothy7019

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