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 22, 1994 february

We DON’T UNDERSTAND where you can get as We leave the doctor’s workplace. The stores and individuals 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 https://speedyloan.net/installment-loans-tn/ the museum is nearby. The hefty woodwork, the leaded windows, the cavernous spaces remind me personally of primary college. I go up the main staircase, following course where in actuality the rock was worn down by footsteps.

I’m impressed as always by the dinosaur bones. They have been exhibited for action — about to fight, planning to feed.

A trip guide breaks my ideas. She informs set of schoolchildren to disregard the indications in the glass instances; normal history is advancing therefore quickly, she explains that the curator can’t carry on with, plus some regarding the info is out of date.

I’m disappointed to think our technology will some­day appear quaint and that I’ll never ever understand just exactly what really occurred towards the 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 speak about how a other countries in the world appears so aware that is little of our company is going right on 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 was traveling when you look at the Midwest and says he’s impressed by just just how close knit homosexual individuals appear in tiny towns; he would trade a few of the freedom we now have in nyc 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 minimal, and I also confess i personally use too much sodium. 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 select it up, but I’m perhaps perhaps not watching and I slam my forehead regarding the table that is next. It’s quiet around us. I lookup to say, “I’m fine, ” but before We have the words away We see two falls of my bloodstream, vivid red resistant to the white linen.

We DRIVE towards the suburbs to see my father 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 with in a unique wing associated with medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a crucifix that is small every home.

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

Later on, i will be alone with my dad as he wakes up. We’ve tiny talk. Unexpectedly, he asks if people 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 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 maybe maybe not worry — they screen bloodstream now. He does not look convinced, but sets their mind straight straight right back and drifts down to fall asleep. We touch his hand and notice how much our hands are alike.

A couple of weeks later he’s back and we visit him once again. He seems hunched and small over, nevertheless the quickness has returned in the eyes. He provides me personally a vital up to a deposit that is safe; his will plus some cost savings bonds are in. If any such thing occurs to him, it’s as much as me personally to care for the plans. I’m the one that is only will be relaxed sufficient to know very well what to complete.


We ADHERE PETER off towards the coastline. Kiddies through the village play down into the distance. The sun’s rays is strong. Peter sits during the edge that is water’s reduces his mind. We sit a feet that are few, wondering things to state. It absolutely was easier back into the town; right right here there is certainly time that is too much think. We look right straight back during the visitor household and notice once again exactly exactly just how shabby it is gotten.

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

Further down the coastline, somebody has sculpted life­ size individual within the sand. The arms are crossed on the upper body like body in a casket. The facial skin 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, We can’t keep in mind if that’s true or We imagined it.

Unexpectedly, we envy their hysteria. We make sure he understands 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 select a swim. The water’s too cool and also the tide’s to arrive, but we allow it to be past where in actuality the waves are breaking and immerse under the sun in addition to sodium and also the movement. When we return to secure, the sand corpse was washed away.