Specimen Times: Your Own Essay. By Robert Massa

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

Specimen Days: Scenes Through the Epidemic February 22, 1994

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

I recall the museum is nearby. The hefty woodwork, the leaded windows, the cavernous spaces remind me of elementary college. I go up the staircase that is central following a course in which the rock was worn down by footsteps.

I’m impressed as constantly because of the dinosaur bones. They’ve been presented for action — about to fight, going to feed.

A tour guide breaks my ideas. She informs selection of schoolchildren to disregard the indications within the cup situations; natural history is advancing therefore quickly, she describes that the curator can’t keep up, plus some associated with info is away from date.

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


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. I ensure it is point out stay across from Daniel because i wish to flirt without having the others noticing. We speak about how a other countries in the globe seems so small alert to exactly what we have been going right through and just how much the neighborhood changed. We purchase omelettes; we browse around and recognize its lunchtime when it comes to some other clients.

Daniel happens to be traveling within the Midwest and states he’s impressed by just how knit that is close 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 big booty shemale 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 examine 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 right down to choose it, but I’m perhaps not watching and I slam my forehead in the next dining table. 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 towards the suburbs to see my dad within the hospital. My hometown seems too manicured, like those model towns we utilized to create for the train set. My father’s space is in a unique wing of this medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a small crucifix over every home.

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

Later, i will be alone with my dad as he wakes up. We now have little talk. Instantly, he asks if individuals nevertheless get AIDS from transfusions. I’m startled simply to hear him say your message. I wish to make sure he understands i am aware just just how afraid and alone he seems, but I’m perhaps not ready for him to learn about me personally. We simply tell him to not worry — they screen blood now. He does not look convinced, but places their mind straight right right back and drifts down to rest. We touch their hand and notice how much our hands are alike.

A weeks that are few he’s back and we see him once again. He appears tiny and hunched over, however the quickness has returned in their eyes. He provides me personally an integral up to a deposit that is safe; their will plus some cost savings bonds are in. If such a thing occurs to him, it’s as much as me personally to look after the plans. I’m the one that is only could be relaxed adequate to know very well what to accomplish.


We ADHERE PETER out towards the coastline. Kiddies through the village play down into the distance. The sunlight has already been strong. Peter sits during the edge that is water’s reduces his mind. We sit a couple of legs away, wondering things to state. It had been easier right back within the town; right right here there is certainly time that is too much think. We look straight back during the visitor household and notice once more just just how shabby it is gotten.

We touch their neck. He does not wish to perish alone. He does not wish to perish. He is told by me i comprehend, I’m going right on through it too. That does not soothe him. He begins once more, telling me just exactly how their buddy died. We turn away.

Further down the coastline, some one has sculpted a full life­ size person into the sand. The hands are crossed on the upper body such as for instance 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 regarding the area, but halfway through, I can’t keep in mind if it’s true or We imagined it.

Unexpectedly, we envy their hysteria. We make sure he understands that the frightened child inside of him may be the component I adore many and if he got sick that I would be there. He calms down. We choose to try using a swim. The water’s too cool plus the tide’s to arrive, but it is made by us past where in actuality the waves are breaking and immerse within the sunlight therefore the sodium together with movement. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse happens to be washed away.