jailHe sat in my office with a tremor in one hand matched by an occasional quiver in his voice.

He had told no one of his HIV positive diagnosis except for his wife, even though the two of them had been separated for many, many years.

“I can’t tell anyone because I live in a small town in Georgia and it would be the end of my life as I know it if people found out.” I wasn’t sure if he was talking about being HIV positive, being gay, or both.

“Why haven’t you and your wife divorced after all these years?” I asked.

“Because she is angry, and will not grant it,” he said.

I wondered what payoff he received from being separated but not divorced.

They live in different houses, and both live in a jail of fear.

She is afraid that she will lose the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed.

And so does he.

And as a result, they both lose.

He continues to respond with silence to her threats of telling the town he is gay. And she nurses the red hot anger that seems justifiable to her.

My prayer is that they could both be free some day.

Sooner rather than later. Before it’s too late.