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Specimen Times: Your Own 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 KNOW the best place to get as the doctor’s is left by me 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 staircase that is central following a path where in fact the rock was worn out by footsteps.

I’m impressed as constantly because of the dinosaur bones. They truly are presented for action — about to battle, planning to feed.

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

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


WE HEAD INTO a glassed-in sidewalk cafe near Du­pont Circle. We make it point out stay across from Daniel because I would like to flirt without having the others noticing. We speak about the way the remaining portion of the globe appears so small alert to exactly what our company is going right on through and exactly how much the neighborhood changed. We purchase omelettes; we shop around and understand it’s lunchtime when it comes to some other clients.

Daniel was traveling within the Midwest and states he’s impressed by just just exactly how knit that is close individuals appear in little towns; he’d trade a few 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 prefer too salt that is much. I examine the cup and state Washington could be a place that is nice in the end.

I quickly knock my fork on the ground and bend right down to choose it, but I’m perhaps not watching and I also slam my forehead from the table that is next. It’s quiet around us. I lookup to say, “I’m fine, ” but before We have the words down We see two falls of my blood, vivid red resistant to the white linen.

We DRIVE into the suburbs to consult with my dad into 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 regarding the medical center, with fall ceilings, sheetrock walls, and a tiny crucifix over every door.

My mother and cousin are there any. We inform them Dad looks good and my mom smiles. We commence to resent the eye he’s getting.

Later, i will be alone with my dad as he wakes up. We now have little 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 simply tell him i realize exactly exactly how afraid and alone he seems, but I’m perhaps not ready for him to learn about me personally. We make sure he understands to maybe maybe maybe not worry — they screen bloodstream now. He does not look convinced, but sets their mind straight straight straight back and drifts off to fall asleep. I touch his hand and notice how much our hands are alike.

A couple weeks later he’s back and I see him once more. He appears little and hunched over, however the quickness has returned inside the eyes. He provides me a key up to a safe­ deposit package; their will plus some cost savings bonds are in. If such a thing takes place to him, it’s as much as us to manage the plans. I’m the one that is only could be relaxed adequate to understand what to complete.


We ADHERE PETER off towards the coastline. Young ones through the village play down into the distance. The sunlight has already been strong. Peter sits in the edge that is water’s reduces his mind. We sit several foot away, wondering what things to say. It absolutely was easier straight straight back when you look at the city; right here there clearly was time that is too much think. We look right right right back in the guest notice and house once more exactly just how shabby it is gotten.

We touch their neck. He does not wish to perish installment loans in rhode island alone. He does not wish to perish. He is told by me i realize, I’m going right on through it too. That does not sooth him. He begins once more, telling me personally how their buddy passed away. We turn away.

Further along the coastline, some body has sculpted a full life­ size individual when you look at the sand. The hands are crossed within the upper body like human anatomy in a casket. The face area is calm. We begin to inform Peter We heard these sculptures are part of a folk that is old nevertheless practiced regarding the area, but halfway through, We can’t keep in mind if it’s true or I imagined it.

Unexpectedly, we envy their hysteria. We make sure he understands that the frightened child inside of him could be the part I adore many and that I would personally be here if he got ill. He calms down. We choose to decide on a swim. The water’s too cool plus the tide’s to arrive, but we ensure it is past where in actuality the waves are breaking and immerse under the sun while the sodium therefore the movement. As soon as we return to secure, the sand corpse is washed away.


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