At first, the berries were sweat, juicy and palatable.
I started with a small bite, which indeed was tasty.
A taste became a munch, followed by another munch and another then it became an addiction.
Like a bush fire, the habit consumed my time and ability to restrain myself.
Without shoes, I stepped into thorns.
Several months later, the signs were all over my body; faint coughs and weight loss.
These signs became more pronounced each day and my journey into darkness began.
Slowly I went deep down the dark tunnel, a tunnel of stigma and enigma.
Like chisels, my bones protruded.
Whispers, whispers met me along the road.
Full of myself I continued with what to me, was ’fun having’.
I made merry without thinking of the consequences.
Undeterred, I laughed and shook hands with lust.
We exchanged the red flowers but they were full of tears.
Slowly, sorrowfully, soulfully and mournfully, I journeyed through the dark tunnel.
A tunnel of enigma, a tunnel of stigma, all my painful past.
A single simple act of pleasure and my steps into darkness began.
I was then paying for my actions, filling the impact of the ‘sweet bitter berries’,
I lost hope of living and hoped for an accident to occur in order to take my life away
But all that was in vain.
One dark night, a ray of light shone, a ray so bright shone
Voluntary counseling, voluntary testing, free antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) My star in this tunnel of darkness and stigma.
Please you, and you there, everyone.
Do NOT step into this darkness.