Specimen Times: Your Own Essay. By Robert Massa

Specimen Times: Your Own Essay. By Robert Massa

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

Specimen times: Scenes Through the Epidemic 22, 1994 february

We DON’T UNDERSTAND where you can get as We leave the doctor’s workplace. The stores and folks appear two-dimensional. Noises are muffled. We keep thinking: focus on that which you feel. But all I feel may be the wind.

I recall the museum is near by. The hefty woodwork, the leaded windows, the cavernous rooms remind me personally of elementary college. I go within the staircase that is central following course in which the rock was worn out by footsteps.

I’m impressed as constantly by the dinosaur bones. They’ve been exhibited for action — about to battle, planning to feed.

A trip guide breaks my ideas. She informs band of schoolchildren to disregard the signs into the cup instances; normal history is advancing therefore quickly, she describes that the curator can’t keep pace, plus some regarding the info is away from date.

I’m disappointed to consider which our technology will seem quaint and some­day that I’ll never understand just just exactly what really occurred towards the dinosaurs.


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. I ensure it is indicate stay across from Daniel because I would like to flirt without having the others noticing. We speak about how a remaining portion of the globe appears so aware that is little of we have been going right through and simply how much the neighborhood changed. We purchase omelettes; we shop around and understand its lunchtime for the some other clients.

Daniel happens to be traveling into the Midwest and states he’s impressed by just exactly just how knit that is close individuals appear in tiny towns; he’d trade a few of the freedom we now have in nyc for the 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 minimal, and I also confess I prefer too salt that is much. We look over the cup and state Washington could be a place that is nice in the end.

I quickly knock my fork on to the floor and bend down seriously to select it, but I’m perhaps perhaps not watching and I also slam my forehead in the table that is next. It’s quiet around us. I research to say, “I’m fine, ” but I see two drops of my blood, bright red against the white linen before I get the words out.

We DRIVE into the suburbs to check out my dad within the medical center. My hometown seems too manicured, like those model towns we used to construct for the train set. My father’s space is with in a unique wing for the medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a tiny crucifix over every door.

My mom and cousin are there any. We inform them Dad looks good and my mom smiles. We commence to resent the eye he’s getting.

Later on, i will be alone with my dad as he wakes up. We now have tiny talk. Unexpectedly, he asks if individuals nevertheless get AIDS from transfusions. I’m startled simply to hear him state the phrase. I do want to simply tell him I understand exactly just how afraid and alone he feels, but I’m perhaps not ready for him to understand about me personally. He is told by me to perhaps perhaps not worry — they screen bloodstream now. He doesn’t look convinced, but places their mind straight right right back and drifts down to sleep. We touch their hand and notice how much our hands are alike.

A couple weeks later he’s back and we see him again. He appears hunched and small over, nevertheless the quickness has installment loans south dakota returned inside the eyes. He offers me a vital to a safe­ deposit field; their might plus some cost cost savings bonds are inside. If any such thing takes place to him, it’s as much as us to manage the plans. I’m the only 1 who could be relaxed sufficient to know very well what to complete.


We ADHERE PETER off to your coastline. Kids through the village play off within the distance. The sun’s rays has already been strong. Peter sits during the water’s edge and reduces his mind. We sit a feet that are few, wondering things to state. It absolutely was easier straight right back into the town; here there is certainly a lot of time to think. We look straight back in the visitor notice and house once more exactly exactly just how shabby it is gotten.

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

Further along the coastline, some one has sculpted life­ size individual within the sand. The hands are crossed on the upper body such as a physical human anatomy in a casket. The face area is peaceful. We begin to inform Peter We heard these sculptures are included in a folk that is old nevertheless practiced in 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 simply tell him that the frightened child inside of him could be the component i really like many and if he got sick that I would be there. He calms down. We opt to decide on a swim. The water’s too cool as well as the tide’s coming in, but it is made by us past where in fact the waves are breaking and immerse into the sunlight in addition to sodium as well as the movement. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse happens to be washed away.