I am prone to ignoring my intuition. Usually, I am never wrong, but I am very good at feeling the energies people throw out at me. Yet, I always ignore them. It’s like I don’t want to listen to what I know because somehow, I want it to be wrong. It’s almost like I want to prove myself wrong, and rarely, do I ever. The story I am about to say next is all based off of a hunch. I have no proof. No viable evidence, and if I am wrong, well I’m sorry I slandered your name. No matter, at the end of the day you’re still scum, scum that one or another, I am still dealing with.
I met Travis out in West Hollywood. That should have been red flag number 1, nothing good comes out of that bar scene except for a story and some ever lasting regrets. Travis made eyes at me across the pool table of Bar 10 while I was being dragged around by my friend Jordan meeting all of his friends. When Travis approached me my mind automatically screamed at me he was trouble, but pushing that nosey bitch of a voice aside, I agreed to meet his outstretched hand and say hello.
He was charming, smiling at all the right moments, and making me feel like I was the only guy in the bar. I kept glancing around for Jordan, he and I were supposed to be “together” for the night, and I didn’t want to get caught with someone else. But while Jordan was distracted with more friends, Travis slipped his number into my phone and slithered back into the crowd.
I immediately shot him a text that read, “you look like trouble,” and little did I know I was right. But he took that line, bit into it, and he was hooked. From that moment on he HAD to get to know me.
Jordan and I ended up at an after party at someone’s house and Travis pulled me into the kitchen while we talked over cold pizza and blurred conversations. He was so handsome, and his voice was so relaxed and warm. He seemed genuinely intrigued in getting to know me, and I foolishly thought in that moment, maybe he was the one LA has been hiding and holding just for me.
I awoke the next morning to a text and I felt so elated. This handsome boy did want to get to know me, and he was reaching out to set up our first date.
Later that night I met him at his apartment and we walked over to an Irish pub for drinks and fries. He told me about his family, his goals for acting, and how he was a deep and sentimental guy. Honestly, it was weird for me to hear someone describe themselves as deep, but I ignored it and just listened to him talk about himself. Although he was connected to his OWN feelings, he seemed so disconnected to those of the ones around him. He didn’t ask me much about myself, and didn’t seem to want to know about my art and dreams.
After that night we saw each other every day for a week. We spent almost each night together leading up until my week trip in Mexico. By the end of our week together I had a feeling it wasn’t going to work between us. He seemed to lack substance, and although he paraded himself as this deep and emotional guy, he seemed to only care about himself. Also, every time we were together, he either wanted to be smoking or drinking. It was like he had to be high off of something in order to function with the realities around him. He also smoked cigarettes, and after I saw him smoke his first one, I should have turned away and never looked back. But being the nice guy I am, I believe I have the power to change people. Hell, I can’t even change myself.
I’m a big stickler on STDs and trying my best to avoid them at all costs. Travis had just been tested, as was I, so I didn’t worry much about them. The only thing that did concern me was this persistent rash he seemed to have on his arms, but he quickly diffused my concerns about it when he caught me staring, and said his eczema had been acting up. My first hunch was HIV. Being gay I am ALWAYS paranoid about HIV, but again we weren’t having sex so I wasn’t too concerned about it being that either.
Although I knew everything about him was wrong for me, I did still kind of like him. While in Mexico he text me, which was surprising because I assumed he would have had already moved on. That’s how relationships are in LA. Nothing lasts, and slowly I’ve started to lower my expectations and accept that. But I hate that I am doing that, and I refuse to abandon my idea that love is out there.
Turns out though the day I left Travis hooked up with his ex boyfriend and this other guy he was apparently talking to while talking to me. It hurt, but like I told myself going into it, not to expect too much. I called him out for his BS when I returned, stupidly spent one more night with him, and then moved on.
But I believe Travis left a little something behind so I will never forget him.
Weeks after Travis, I started to get itchy. I ignored it and chalked it up as jock itch from constantly working out in the gym. The itch persisted, and slowly, bug bites started to appear on my arm. Again, I tried not to panic, and assumed maybe something just bit me. But soon, every morning, I was waking up with more and more bites.
A quick google search led me to the idea I might have bed bugs, but after nights of searching and worrying, I didn’t find a single bug. Soon, however, my bites moved to my wrist and looked exactly like the rash Travis had on his arms. Another google search later, I concluded that just maybe I had Scabies.
And for those who don’t know, Scabies fucking suck! It’s a microscopic parasite that burrows, bites, shits, and lays eggs in your skin. And the bug bites you feel are an allergic reaction your body has to the whole ordeal.
So that finally explained the itching and persistent bites, but how do you get it you ask? Skin to skin contact or shared clothes/bedding. It’s an STD that you don’t even have to have sex to get, so that’s why it’s not listed or tested for. Oh yeah did I forget to mention you can’t get tested for it? You just have to wait until you have symptoms and hope you get it diagnosed in time or else you’re just going to continue to infect everyone you love and care about.
I immediately text Travis if he ever figured out what his rash really was, and he said his doctor told him it was “dry skin.” Bullshit. But I made an appointment with my doctor and lo and behold, I was right that I had scabies.
The treatment is simple, apply a cream from head to toe, and come morning the little buggers are dead. BUT they fail to mention the emotional and physical pain this parasite and “cure” causes on a person.
I was still itchy, and the symptoms got worse as my body tried to expel everything out of it. I developed rashes everywhere, and the itch was worse than when I had Scabies. I was afraid to touch anything or anyone, still am, and my body still has yet to recover. Every bump that appears on me I assume is Scabies and I freak out. Post Scabies resembles actual scabies, so one can ever tell if they are reinfected or cured. But if you still show symptoms a month after treatment, it is likely you’re still infested. I am in that month period, and I just want to curl up into a ball until it all passes.
I forget what it’s like to have clear skin, and it has caused me so much anxiety that I relapsed into a depression. Yes it’s curable, but it feels like it will never go away. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but the more I talked about it with people, the more common I discovered it really is. Turns out I have friends who have fought this same battle and survived, and that is what I hold on to.
I still don’t know if it came from Travis. It could have come from anyone, but the fact he had rashes when we met leads me to believe that I may not be wrong. I’m sorry for anyone he infected and didn’t tell. I’m sorry for the person passing it and not knowing. And I am sorry for anyone I may have unknowingly gave it to as well. I don’t want anyone to ever have to deal with this. It’s medieval torture for the modern age.
So next time my gut tells me someone is trouble, I won’t scratch it away. And be warned, Scabies is a thing, and it’s an invisible bitch that wants to haunt you and your dreams.
Don’t let it.