Specimen Times: An Individual Essay. By Robert Massa

Specimen Times: An Individual Essay. By Robert Massa

Plus: ‘A Diary of managing AIDS’ and ‘Remembering Robert — Seven Writers Commemorate a Colleague and Friend’

Specimen Days: Scenes Through the Epidemic 22, 1994 february

We DON’T UNDERSTAND where you can get as the doctor’s is left by me office. The stores and folks appear two-dimensional. Noises are muffled. We keep thinking: focus on everything you feel. But all personally i think may be the wind.

I recall the museum is near by. The hefty woodwork, the leaded windows, the cavernous spaces remind me personally of elementary college. I head within the main staircase, following course where in actuality the rock was worn down by footsteps.

I’m impressed as constantly because of the dinosaur bones. These are typically shown for action — about to battle, going to feed.

A trip guide breaks my ideas. She informs number of schoolchildren to disregard the best installment loans in south dakota indications when you look at the cup instances; normal history is advancing therefore quickly, she describes that the curator can’t carry on with, plus some associated with info is away from date.

I’m disappointed to believe our technology will some­day appear quaint and that I’ll never ever understand just just what really occurred to your dinosaurs.


WE ENTER a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. We allow it to be a true indicate stay across from Daniel because i wish to flirt with no others noticing. We speak about the way the remaining portion of the world appears so aware that is little of we have been going right on through and simply how much the neighborhood changed. We purchase omelettes; I browse around and recognize its lunchtime for the some other clients.

Daniel happens to be traveling when you look at the Midwest and states he’s impressed by exactly how close knit homosexual individuals appear in tiny towns; he would trade a few of the freedom we now have in ny for that feeling of community. We begin to have fun with the game, staring a little too much time, jerking our attention away. He apologizes for making use of Sweet ’n Low, and I also confess i take advantage of too much sodium. We look over the cup and state Washington could be a pleasant destination real time after all.

However knock my fork on the ground and bend down seriously to select it, but I’m perhaps not watching and I also slam my forehead from the next dining table. It’s quiet around us all. I research to say, “I’m fine, ” but before We have the words away We see two falls of my bloodstream, vivid red up against the white linen.

We DRIVE into the suburbs to go to my dad when you look at the medical center. My hometown seems too manicured, like those model towns we utilized to create for the train set. My father’s space is in a unique wing of this medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a crucifix that is small every home.

My brother and mother is there. They are told by me Dad looks good and my mother smiles. We start to resent the interest he’s getting.

Later on, i will be alone with my dad as he wakes up. We now have tiny talk. Abruptly, he asks if individuals nevertheless get AIDS from transfusions. I’m startled simply to hear him state the phrase. I would like to make sure he understands i realize exactly just exactly how afraid and alone he seems, but I’m perhaps perhaps not ready for him to understand about me personally. We simply tell him to maybe not worry — they screen bloodstream now. He does not look convinced, but sets his mind straight right back and drifts down to fall asleep. We touch their hand and notice how much our hands are alike.

A weeks that are few he’s back and we see him once more. He appears tiny and hunched over, nevertheless the quickness has returned in the eyes. He provides me an integral to a deposit that is safe; his might plus some cost savings bonds are in. If such a thing takes place to him, it’s up to me personally to look after the plans. I’m the one that is only is relaxed adequate to know very well what to accomplish.


I ADHERE PETER off towards the coastline. Kids through the village play down when you look at the distance. The sunlight has already been strong. Peter sits during the water’s edge and reduces his mind. We sit several legs away, wondering things to state. It was easier right back into the town; here there is certainly time that is too much think. We look right right straight back during the visitor notice and house once more exactly just just how shabby it is gotten.

We touch their neck. He does not like to perish alone. He does not like to perish. He is told by me i realize, I’m going right through it too. That does not sooth him. He begins once again, telling me personally just exactly just how their buddy passed away. I turn away.

Further along the coastline, somebody has sculpted a full life­ size individual in the sand. The hands are crossed on the upper body like a physical human body in a casket. The facial skin is calm. We begin to inform Peter We heard these sculptures are included in a vintage people faith nevertheless practiced regarding the area, but halfway through, We can’t keep in mind if it’s true or We imagined it.

Abruptly, we envy their hysteria. We make sure he understands that the frightened kid inside of him may be the part i enjoy most and if he got sick that I would be there. He calms down. We opt to go with a swim. The water’s too cool and also the tide’s to arrive, but it is made by us past where in fact the waves are breaking and immerse under the sun together with sodium in addition to movement. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse is washed away.

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