Black girl Kirra felt the tears welling up, blurring her vision. The lab report she held in her hands, just out of its envelope, become nothing more than a white rectangle viewed through a film of despair.
Herpes, she thought, staring unseeing at the report.
Positive for herpes. This is it. This is the end. He really did cheat on me.
She dropped the paper and let the tears come. Her world had ended; her boyfriend had slept around and brought back to her a nasty little gift. There was nothing else left to do but cry. Dating was hard enough in this white town as a black girl. Now she had to throw herpes into the mix. And date she would have to; Matthew was out of the picture now. Who in this backwoods town would want to get involved with dating a black girl positive for herpes?
The internet would be her friend there. Dating sites were plentiful, and there was bound to be somewhere where she could get help and support.
Wiping her eyes, Kirra opened up her laptop and typed into the search bar “dating with herpes”. What she found made her heart ache: all the pictures were of white people. No representation, nothing to make her feel comfortable.
“Black dating with herpes”, she tried.
This was better. The first result was even a dating site dedicated to black people with herpes. Without a second thought, she signed up.
You just have to take it one day at a time, HerpesGirl576 typed. It does get easier. You’re not alone. Everyone here went through what you’re going through now.
Kirra smiled at the screen. HerpesGirl576 had messaged her not long after she’d set up her profile and they’d been chatting constantly for a week now.
You’ve been so helpful, she wrote back. I’m just scared of getting back out there and dating again, you know?
She waited, sipped her tea.
Yeah, I know, HerpesGirl576 wrote. It’s even harder out in the dating world as a black girl with herpes. It sort of thins out the opportunities a little. But it’s not so bad; there are plenty of us out here. And you don’t have to date the narrow-minded white guys in your town.
Or girls, replied Kirra. But that would never happen here. Waaaaay too conservative.
HerpesGirl576 typed out, I know how you feel. I stay the next town over from you and things here are similar.
Want to hang out some time?
Kirra smiled. Maybe things weren’t looking so bad after all. Maybe life could go back to normal. Maybe she would have some luck in this dating with herpes thing after all.
Sure, she wrote back. That sounds lovely.