Eamonn Fitzgerald

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“This is a story of diaries and coincidences. It’s now almost 16 years since I first read Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir, by Paul Monette. The book is a journal of the author’s final two years with his partner Roger Horwitz, who died of AIDS in 1986 in Los Angeles. It’s a heartbreaking love story and beautifully written. The two travelled regularly to Europe, especially to Paris. When we join them, they’re on the edge of the plague minefield, except they don’t know it. Monette notes:

“Roger kept a diary only sporadically, and one night I left mine in a taxi near Saint-Germain-des-Pres… Roger and I went to Gibert Jeune the stationer, near Place Saint-Michel, where we bought blue-cover student notebooks lined with graph paper. At the time I was reading The Name of the Rose, a sort of cracked guide to Tuscany, and Eco speaks at the beginning of the cahiers of Gibert Jeune. Roger filled only five pages of his, but on October 31 he writes of us sitting by the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. He’s full of the ‘drag of nostalgia’ and remembers reading Gide’s Counterfeiters on the selfsame spot twenty years before. There’s a brief aside to me: ‘Paul — the book opens with a scene at the Medici Fountain.’ Then at the end of the entry: ‘These spells of fatigue… age? Some virus?’ “

When I read that passage for the first time, I was struck by the pleasure and the pain of keeping a diary.”

Eamonn Fitzgerald’s Rainy Day

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