I had a fairly ordinary childhood. Wandering the streets of my suburb getting into all sorts of mischief with my friends. Life was new and everything was fresh.
The when I was seven years old my father died. Though he had always been there I didn’t even know him. I felt no grief or guilt. I felt nothing.
Then two years later my mother met another man. This was when things started to fall apart for me. I hated the man and his two children, and they hated me, except for the daughter, she used to try and molest me, for the next twenty years. Until one day when I was thirty I told her how I felt about her – I was repulsed and never wanted to hear from her again.
So by the age of twelve I was constantly running away from home, breaking into houses and I often ending up in the adolescent boys home in Melbourne.
The sad thing is I felt more at home in the boys’ home than at home. I never wanted to go home again.
At the age of thirteen I met a pedophile, who abused me for the next six months. I’ve often wondered whether he was to blame, or I was. I had a great complicity in his activities and felt that he couldn’t be held entirely responsible.
By this time I was well and truly aware that I was gay, but I wouldn’t tell anyone for several years.
I had had enough of living with this pedophile and so one day took my few possessions and left.
A few days later I sat in a park wanking off with a man I had met there. I was high on Serapax, which I had taken from the pedophile. The guy asked me what I was on and I told him, so he offered to take me somewhere where I could spend the night. As he went inside to talk to the people who would look after me for the night I noticed some business cards on his dashboard. I picked one up and read ‘Police Psychologist.’ I was stunned.
He said he’d meet me again at the park the next night but he didn’t show up so I just sat on a seat when I was approached by a guy and a girl. They began to ask me questions about what I was doing in the park and where I lived. And having had enough of time on the street, I told them everything.
They took me back to their centre and called the police. I was resigned to going back to the boys’ home.
I had just turned fourteen and it hadn’t occurred to me that that was the age that boys were moved to the older boys home, of which I had heard many horror stories about. Thus the police took me to the older boys’ home and I was terrified. I begged them to call the younger boys home that I had run away from; hoping one of the more kindly staff would say I could return there. Thankfully they contacted a staff member who liked me and had much hope for my future. So I went to the younger boys’ home and returned to school, but a hated school with a passion as I always had.
My probation officer knew that I was having a hard time at school. One day he sat and watched with the principal as I walked across the quadrant to my class, but half way there I froze and turned back to the principal’s office. My probation officer then searched out a number of schools he thought may be suitable for me and took me to view each one. I was extremely impressed by St.Kilda Community High and for the next three years didn’t wag school once and did all my work to the best of my ability. Finally after three years of hard work I gained my Victorian Certificate of Education.
During the last summer break before I left school I met a boy a year older than myself at the beach and I fell in love. He was a Beautiful guy, very good looking and very considerate. And very gay. Alas, it was only a summer romance and we soon broke up.
I left high school and was accepted into Melbourne University Arts, I was very proud of the fact that I had made it, but after living the last three years in the tight knit community of my school I felt alone and abandoned
So I drifted back toward the streets. Then one day I met a man named John in the park while I was reading a book and he began talking to me. He took me home, I spent the night there and he made love to me. I awoke the next morning and he had gone to work and left me alone in his house. No one had ever trusted such as he had and any thought of ripping him off evaporated, the guy had trusted me and obviously wanted to see me again.
I fell in love with him, but he still had contact with his ex-boyfriend and was reluctant to start a relationship with me. I pined for him, but he rejected my advances.
Then one day I got smashed on a cask of wine and went to the beat, I met a guy who vaguely reminded me of John, so I went home with him. He pulled down his pants and I laid eyes on the biggest dick I’ve ever seen, and I said “You’re not fucking me with that thing!” But he pinned me down and raped me.
I wouldn’t go to the police because I thought they’d just mock me and say “You got what you deserved you dirty little faggot!” So I tried to put the incidence out of my mind.
One night, when I was lonely for John I thought that if I thought about John enough he might pick up on my psychic vibrations and call me. But he didn’t, instead an old high school friend, who lived in a direct path between me and John called me and asked if I was HIV positive. I told her yes, and that was the end of it, she was cool with it. I often had the idea that she had intercepted my psychic transmission to John.
Soon after I met a friend of John’s who was looking for someone to share a house with him and another guy. I jumped at the chance. I had been living at home and wanted so much to get out and have a life. The other guy’s name was Peter and he had a friend named Justin. Justin was Italian and very good looking and we took a liking to each other straight away.
It was Justin who convinced me I should come out, or at least tell my mother, which I did. My mother was very blasé about it to my surprise, and relief. She told me she had always known, which came as a bit of a shock, but thinking back I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
At this point I came to the decision that I didn’t need to hide my sexuality anymore. And also I had no fear of telling anyone I was HIV positive. I didn’t go around advertising it, but if someone asked me directly I would be honest and tell them.
Then one day, soon after, I noticed a yellow fluid dripping from my penis, so I went to see a doctor. He immediately told me I had gonorrhea. He said I should be tested for any other diseases, including a HIV test. I went back for the results a few weeks later and he gave me the bad news. I was HIV positive.
I was both shocked, but somehow blasé about the news.
I had already told Peter and Paul about my diagnosis; so on a car trip one day Peter said to Justin “Glenn has something to tell you.”
And Justin, being the conceited, good looking man he was replied. “I know. He’s in love with me!
“No!” I replied, even though I think I was. “I’m HIV positive!” I told him.
“That’s cool.” He said, and our friendship was unaffected.
One night John and I went to a friend of an acquaintance to score some marijuana. We stayed for a few hours and John drank a lot of beer. When we finally left, John was so drunk and stoned that he could hardly walk. He put his arm around me to hold him up, told me that he loved me, and I carried him to a cab. We got back to his place and I slept with him. My dream was coming true! He wanted to be with me! So began our relationship which lasted for about seven years
By this time I had come out to old school friends, and anyone I met. I was proud of who I was and I was not going to let anyone shame me.
My relationship with John continued even after the sexual aspect of it had fizzled. We remain best friends to this day. I would say he’s my only true friend. He’s stuck by me through thick and thin. In sickness and in health.
I still love the guy dearly, and I hope he knows that. I guess there is a thing called true love.
I’ve now been HIV positive for twenty one years, and though I haven’t always looked after myself, I am still in remarkably good shape.
I credit this to my creative drive; it is the only thing I’ve had to hang onto when there been nothing else.
I suppose the best advice I could give a person, any person, is never give up. Always look to the future; the future will be whatever you make it.
Glenn Kellalea ©2012