Cabinets filled with dead foetuses. A gigantic skeleton watching over the chipper congregation. The living spectators to the devastated dead. And yours truly counted amongst their vital number. The cathedral like building, surrounded by clouds of genius, standing still through the lifetimes of our grandparents and great-grandparents, is a chamber of human antiquity. Old. Serious. Dimly lit, inside and out.
The walls dripped with endeavour. Oil paintings of old heads hung upon the walls. One depicted twins joined at the hip. Never separated, through choice, until they died, within hours of each other. Sections of organs, sliced open to show the growth of some disease or cancer. With colour rinsed out, these chunks of fleshy mechanics lie eerily still in their chemical coffins.
In another room was a video. It demonstrated the astonishing dexterity and skill of the surgeon. The fingers so still it was as though everything else in the world moved around them. The floor, for a minute, seemed to shift underneath my feet.
The film continued.
Bore-holes were made in a skull. An oval section was cut away and removed. A bony bowl. The brain beneath pulsated with the dreams of the patient.
Then a gorgeous girl stood next to me. But I didn’t exist. She simply wanted to watch the film. Inevitably, my attention was soon drawn away from the miracle of modern medicine and, instead, fixed upon the smoothness and incredible symmetry of her face; her dark, mysterious and utterly beautiful eyes. Now preoccupied with ideas of making an introduction, the video was reduced to a background arrangement of colours and sounds. More of an annoyance. A wall separating us. Indeed, it was getting all the attention.
Eventually, surrounded by such beauty, horror and gore, I lost my nerve and strode off purposefully.
And, anyway, what sort of man flirts with a woman in a place filled with tumours, dead babies and drilled heads? Surely, some kind of psychopath.
But before I knew it, I was outside, hating myself with some of the last, remaining calories in my tank.
And, feeling a fresh surge of hunger, made my way to Chinatown for a bowl of noodles.