Specimen Times: An Individual Essay. By Robert Massa

Specimen Times: An Individual Essay. By Robert Massa

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

Specimen Days: Scenes Through the Epidemic February 22, 1994

We DON’T UNDERSTAND the best place to get as We leave the doctor’s workplace. The stores and folks appear two-dimensional. Noises are muffled. We keep thinking: look closely at everything you feel. But all personally i think could be the wind.

I recall the museum is nearby. The woodwork that is heavy the leaded windows, the cavernous spaces remind me personally of primary college. I go up the staircase that is central following course where in fact the rock was worn out by footsteps.

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

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

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


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. We allow it to be indicate stay across from Daniel because i do want to flirt with no others noticing. We mention the way the remaining portion of the globe appears so aware that is little of our company is dealing with and exactly how much the neighborhood changed. We order omelettes; we browse around and understand its lunchtime when it comes to other customers.

Daniel was traveling into the Midwest and states he’s impressed by exactly just just how close knit homosexual individuals appear in little towns; he would trade a number 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 personally use too salt that is much. We look over the cup and state Washington could be a pleasant spot live in the end.

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

We DRIVE to your suburbs to go to my father within the medical center. My hometown seems too manicured, like those model towns we utilized to construct for the train set. My father’s space is with in a fresh wing associated with the medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a crucifix that is small every home.

My brother and mother exist. We inform them Dad looks good and my mom smiles. We start to resent the eye he’s getting.

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

A couple weeks later he’s back and we see him once again. He appears tiny and hunched over, however the quickness has returned inside the eyes. He offers me personally an integral to a deposit that is safe; his will plus some cost cost savings bonds are in. If any such thing takes place to him, it’s as much as us to care for the plans. I’m the just one who could be relaxed adequate to understand what to complete.


I ADHERE PETER out towards the coastline. Young ones through the village play down within the distance. Sunlight is strong. Peter sits in the edge that is water’s lowers his head. We sit a couple of foot away, wondering things to state. It had been easier right back into the town; right right here https://camsloveaholics.com/female/granny/ there clearly was time that is too much think. We look straight straight back in the visitor household and notice once again exactly exactly how shabby it’s gotten.

We touch their shoulder. He does not like to perish alone. He does not wish to perish. We make sure he understands We realize, I’m going right through it too. That does not soothe him. He begins once again, telling me personally exactly exactly exactly how their buddy passed away. I turn away.

Further down the coastline, somebody has sculpted a full life­ size individual within the sand. The arms are crossed within the upper body like a physical human anatomy in a casket. The face area is calm. I begin to inform Peter We heard these sculptures are element of a classic people faith nevertheless practiced in the area, but halfway through, We can’t keep in mind if it’s true or I imagined it.

Instantly, we envy their hysteria. We make sure he understands that the frightened child inside of him may be the part I adore many and that I would personally be here if he got ill. He calms down. We opt to go with a swim. The water’s too cool while the tide’s to arrive, but we ensure it is past where in actuality the waves are breaking and soak into the sunlight plus the sodium while the motion. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse happens to be washed away.