Specimen Days: 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 where you should get as We leave the doctor’s workplace. The shops and individuals appear two-dimensional. Sounds are muffled. We keep thinking: focus on everything you feel. But all personally i think may be the wind.

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

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

A trip guide breaks my ideas. She informs band of schoolchildren to ignore the indications within the cup instances; normal 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 consider which our technology will seem quaint and some­day that I’ll never ever understand exactly exactly just what really occurred to your dinosaurs.


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. We ensure it is a true indicate stay across from Daniel because i wish to flirt with no others noticing. We mention the way the remaining portion of the world appears so aware that is little of we have been dealing with and exactly how much the neighborhood has changed. We purchase omelettes; we shop around and realize it’s lunchtime for the other customers.

Daniel happens to be traveling into the Midwest and states he’s impressed by exactly exactly how close knit gay individuals seem in little towns; he’d trade a few of the freedom we now have in ny for that feeling of community. We begin to have fun with the game, staring a little 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. We examine the cup and state Washington could be a pleasant destination real time in the end.

However knock my fork on to the floor and bend right down to choose it, but I’m not watching and I also slam my forehead regarding the table that is next. It’s quiet around us all. I lookup to say, “I’m fine, ” but before I have the words away I see two drops of my bloodstream, scarlet contrary to the white linen.

We DRIVE into the suburbs to consult with my dad when you look at 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 in a unique wing of this medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a crucifix that is small every home.

My mom and cousin is there. They are told by me Dad looks good and my mom smiles. We start to resent the interest he’s getting.

Later on, i will be alone with my dad when he wakes up. We have tiny talk. Abruptly, he asks if individuals nevertheless get AIDS from transfusions. I’m startled simply to hear him state the term. I would like to make sure he understands i am aware just 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 perhaps perhaps not worry — they screen bloodstream now. He does not look convinced, but places his mind right straight 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 I see him once again. He appears hunched and small over, nevertheless the quickness has returned in the eyes. He provides me personally a vital to a deposit that is safe; their might plus some savings bonds are in. If any such thing occurs to him, it’s as much as me personally to manage the arrangements. I’m the only 1 who could be relaxed adequate to know very well what to complete.


I ADHERE PETER out to the coastline. Young ones through the village play down when you look at the distance. The sunlight has already been strong. Peter sits in the water’s https://www.camsloveaholics.com/female/lesbian edge and reduces his mind. We sit a couple of legs away, wondering what things to state. It had been easier straight straight straight back within the town; right here there is certainly a lot of time to think. We look straight right back during the guest household and notice once again exactly just how shabby it is gotten.

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

Further along the coastline, some body has sculpted a full life­ size person into the sand. The arms are crossed on the upper body such as human anatomy in a casket. The face area is calm. We begin to inform Peter We heard these sculptures are included in a classic people faith nevertheless practiced regarding the island, but halfway through, We can’t keep in mind if it’s true or We imagined it.

Abruptly, we envy their hysteria. We simply tell him that the frightened child inside of him could be the component I like many and that I would be here if he got ill. He calms down. We choose to go after a swim. The water’s too cool and also the tide’s to arrive, but it is made by us past where in actuality the waves are breaking and soak under the sun plus the sodium together with motion. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse was washed away.