Specimen Times: An Individual Essay. By Robert Massa

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 22, 1994 february

I DON’T UNDERSTAND the best place to get as We leave the doctor’s office. The shops and individuals appear two-dimensional. Sounds are muffled. We keep thinking: focus on that which you feel. But all personally i think may 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 staircase that is central after the course in which the rock has been worn down by footsteps.

I’m impressed as constantly because of the dinosaur bones. They've been shown for action — about to battle, planning to feed.

A trip guide breaks my thoughts. She informs band of schoolchildren to ignore the indications within the cup situations; normal history is advancing therefore quickly, she describes that the curator can’t carry on with, plus some of this information is away from date.

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


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. We make it point out stay across from Daniel because i wish to flirt minus the others noticing. We discuss the way the remaining portion of the world appears so aware that is little of our company is dealing with and just how much the neighborhood changed. We purchase omelettes; we browse around and understand it's lunchtime for the some other clients.

Daniel happens to be traveling into the Midwest and states he’s impressed by exactly exactly how knit that is close individuals appear in little towns; he'd 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 bit a long 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 destination live in the end.

I quickly knock my fork on the ground and bend right down to select it up, but I’m 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 get the words away We see two falls of my blood, vivid red contrary to the white linen.

We DRIVE towards the suburbs to consult with my dad when you look at the hospital. My hometown seems too manicured, like those model towns we utilized to create for the train set. My father’s room is with in a fresh wing regarding the medical center, with drop ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a crucifix that is small every home.

My mom and sibling are there any. 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 dad as he wakes up. We now have little talk. Unexpectedly, he asks if individuals nevertheless get AIDS from transfusions. I’m startled simply to hear him state the phrase. I would like to simply tell him i realize just exactly just 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 perhaps not worry — they screen bloodstream now. He does not look convinced, but sets their mind right right straight back and drifts down to rest. We touch their hand and notice how much our hands are alike.

A couple of weeks later he’s back and we see him once again. He appears little and hunched over, however the quickness has returned inside the eyes. He provides me a vital to a safe­ deposit package; their might plus some cost savings bonds are in. If such a thing takes place to him, it’s as much as me personally to care for the plans. I’m the only 1 who will be relaxed adequate to understand what to accomplish.


We ADHERE PETER off towards the coastline. Young ones through the village play down when you look at the distance. The sun's rays has already been strong. Peter sits in the water’s edge and lowers his mind. We sit a feet that are few, wondering what things to state. It had been easier back within the town; right here there is certainly time that is too much think. I look straight straight back during the visitor home and notice once more just just how shabby it is gotten.

We touch their neck. He does not desire to perish alone. He does not wish to die. We make sure he understands I comprehend, I’m going right on through it too. That does not relax him. He begins once more, telling me personally exactly just how their buddy passed away. We turn away.

Further along the coastline, somebody has sculpted life­ size individual into the sand. The hands are crossed on the upper body such as a physical human anatomy in a casket. The face area is calm. We begin to inform Peter We heard these sculptures are section of a folk that is old nevertheless practiced in the area, but halfway through, I can’t keep in mind if that’s true or We imagined it.

Abruptly, we envy their hysteria. We make sure he understands that the frightened child inside of him may be the component I adore many and that I would personally be here if he got ill. He calms down. We opt to decide on a swim. The installment loans in tennessee water’s too cool while the tide’s to arrive, but it is made by us past where in fact the waves are breaking and immerse into the sunlight plus the sodium while the movement. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse happens to be washed away.

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