The IV in my arm took me back to my last hospital stay 23 years ago. Malaria. Just three weeks after that last bout in Bobo-Dioulasso. In a quinine haze, I watched Calamity Jane as a suede fringed Doris Day seemed on the verge of her secret love with the woman in blue velvet. Propofil, the “Michael Jackson drug” that my anesthesiologist assures me was given to him by someone who as not an anesthesiologist and that I will be fine. It takes you out in 30 to 60 seconds, and three hours later I wake without twilight confusion but complete lucidity as I am surrounded by complete strangers, but I know exactly why they are there.
An express portal that is a forget-me-now of incisions, mesh, and a breathing tube that I experienced but have no memory of. Can another portal take me as quickly back to 190 and viewing Calamity Jane? A portal to the other side — time travel making a circuit, chimps learning the use of tools and taking blame for the big disease with a little name. The drip, drip, drip of an irrigated memory, lush valley of a future so many were denied. And we all ended up in this place. Not quite San Francisco, not quite the end of the rainbow.