Yesterday Best Beloved received a phone call from the Littles' headmaster. The teacher first explained that Leo was in detention because he had repeatedly left behind his books and pencils, and had neglected to remind me to sign things – all this despite my asking him each day morning and evening if all was in order with his papers, pens, and notebooks. Then, taking a breath, he plunged into the second reason for his call.
Zenon, he reported, had stood in front of the entire school, teachers, helpers, and local health inspector, and told them that the entire family except himself, were HIV positve and carried AIDS.
Was there any truth to this? The headmaster wanted to know...
Best Beloved assured him that there wasn't.
The conversation ended, and BB scratched his head, wondering if this were a new ploy of Zenon's to win attention and set himself apart from the crowd.
Then the penny dropped and BB called the headmaster back.
“I think,” he said. “With respect to our recent conversation, that Zenon was confused between HIV and the Thalassaemia trait. You see, I carry the trait, and while my wife does not, all of my children – except possibly Zenon – do.”
On Zenon's return, I quizzed him as to his remarks, and found that he had indeed confused the two conditions. I just hope that this is the end of the story – that some child has not gone and repeated the assertion at home, and that some parent does not insist that we all undergo tests and display the results on the school bulletin board as had to happen when a friend's child was rumoured to have TB.
Not that I am averse to being publicly tested, I just don't need the hassle right now.