It was in São Paulo, in 2006, when I could finally live my gay life. I just turned 18 and had a car, which allowed me to drive away from home, going secretly to gay clubs and bars. I used to pick up some gay friends Friday or Saturday night and go downtown to the most overrated gay places. My friends were minors so they had a fake id to enter the clubs with me.

I was kind of jealous of how my friends were easily flirting and meeting people. I’m not shy but I just didn’t feel comfortable to look at others in the eyes and say ‘hi’. I was very insecure but I didn’t realize it. One of those friends, the younger one, was always meeting new guys and kissing, I wished I was outgoing and friendly like him.

One day we went to a popular club among gays with electro music. The decoration was kitschy – from what I remember and I still have the photos we took that day. We were three and I was just desperately expecting a kiss. Looking around, crossing the other guys’ looks, trying to be friendly… I was a bit drunk and a guy came and we kissed. Finally! He looked handsome, taller than me, blond. At the moment I thought he was very sexy. It was good and we couldn’t stop kissing until my friends wanted to return home. Phones exchanged and I had a lover.

We met again the following week. I was intrigued to know him better. His name was Marcos, who just returned from the US after many years of living there. He was alone in São Paulo and lost a bit of Portuguese, that’s why he struggled with the language – he was also older than me, I think he was 32 at the time. He was rather reserved and I knew very few things about his life. He seemed strange at times and a bit pushy. His odd behavior was intimidating and so, one day, I said I didn’t want to see him anymore.

He insisted on meeting again. We went to a bar next to the club where we first met. We sat on the corner of the street to talk. He started to open up, saying he had a wife in the US, that he was struggling, that he liked me a lot and, from what I understood, that he was “positive”. I started to feel guilty, how could I be mean or avoid someone who was suffering in his private life and also being HIV positive? Later I touched the subject again and I found out he meant he was “positive” for optimistic…

One Saturday I brought Marcos to a friend’s house for a little party: big mistake. All the people there had a bad impression of him. My friends kept telling me that he was a strange person with weird ideas and bad behaviors.

During that week I noticed that some of my ID photos were gone from my wallet. That was creepy enough for me, and I tried to break up – again – over the phone. He didn’t accept it and started to call me every day. I remember receiving like 18 calls during one class at the University. I kept rejecting his calls, but he kept calling me. What if he calls me when I’m at home, in front of my parents? Since I hadn’t come out yet, I was pretty scared. Driving back home, I decided to answer one of his calls. I told him that he needed to respect my choice, that I didn’t want anything with him and that he needed to stop calling me. He told me he knew where I lived, my home’s phone number and that my parents were about to receive a surprise. I was so scared and so angry, I couldn’t stop insulting him, crying on the phone.

I hesitated about going to the police. Days passed by slowly and I was afraid of coming back home but luckily nothing happened. I think he was just bluffing…

A few weeks later, I was at our usual gay bar with my friends and a nice guy who I’ve met at a club. He was very kind and knew the story of Marcos. We were outside, drinking our beer on the street, it was crowded all around. Suddenly we noticed he was there. He approached to talk to me, I asked him to leave me alone but he was insisting. My new “boyfriend” got mad about it and they started to fight in the middle of the street. I’m very pacific so I was shocked by the situation, everybody was looking at us also in shock. The guy gave Marcos a kick on his back and he finally went away. I fell in love, even though I’m against violence.

The last thing I remember about Marcos is that, a few years later, I was walking in this same neighborhood with a friend (who knew him because she was with us on the very first night) and we saw him leaving a bakery. He saw us and started to follow us. We tried to run for like 5 blocks – she was wearing heels – and we got into my car. We were laughing about it later, but it was pretty scary…