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 times: Scenes Through the Epidemic February 22, 1994

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

I recall the museum is near by. The woodwork that is heavy the leaded windows, the cavernous spaces remind me personally of primary college. I go within the main staircase, after the course where in actuality the rock was worn down by footsteps.

I’m impressed as constantly by the dinosaur bones. These are generally exhibited for action — about to fight, planning to feed.

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

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


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. We allow it to be point out stay across from Daniel because I would like to flirt without having the others noticing. We speak about the way the other countries in the globe appears so aware that is little of our company is going right through and exactly how much the neighborhood changed. We purchase omelettes; we shop around and recognize it’s lunchtime for the some other clients.

Daniel happens to be traveling into the Midwest and states he’s impressed by exactly exactly just how close knit homosexual individuals appear in tiny towns; he’d trade a few of the freedom we now have in ny 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 take advantage of too salt that is much. I look over the cup and state Washington could be a fantastic place real time in the end.

I quickly knock my fork on the ground and bend right down to select it, but I’m not watching and I also slam my forehead regarding the next dining table. It’s quiet all over. I lookup to say, “I’m fine, ” but before I have the words away We see two falls of my bloodstream, vivid red from the white linen.

We DRIVE into the 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 brand new wing regarding the medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a little crucifix over every home.

My mother and sibling is there. We inform them Dad looks good and my mom smiles. I start to resent the eye he’s getting.

Later on, i’m alone with my dad as he wakes up. We’ve tiny talk. Abruptly, he asks if individuals nevertheless get AIDS from transfusions. I’m startled simply to hear him state your message. I do want to make sure he understands i realize exactly exactly exactly how afraid and alone he seems, but I’m perhaps perhaps perhaps not ready for him to learn about me personally. He is told by me to maybe perhaps perhaps not worry — they screen blood now. He does not look convinced, but places their mind right back and drifts down to rest. I 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 hunched and small over, however the quickness has returned in their eyes. He provides me an integral to a safe­ deposit package; his might plus some cost savings bonds are in. If any such thing takes place to him, it’s as much as us to look after the plans. I’m the only 1 who will be relaxed sufficient to understand what to complete.


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

I touch their shoulder. He does not would you like to perish alone. He does not desire to perish. We make sure he understands We comprehend, I’m going right through it too. That does not sooth him. He starts up once more, telling me personally just exactly how their buddy passed away. We turn away.

Further along the coastline, somebody has sculpted life­ size individual within the sand. The hands are crossed throughout the upper body like a physical human body in a casket. The face area is calm. 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, I can’t remember if it’s true or We imagined it.

Abruptly, we envy their hysteria. I tell him that the frightened child inside of him could be the component I adore most and if he got sick that I would be there. He calms down. We opt to opt for a swim. The water’s too cool as well as the tide’s to arrive, but it is made by us past where in fact the waves are breaking and soak within the sunlight in addition to sodium plus the movement. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse is washed away.

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