Persona Press • San Francisco
fiction $ 14.95

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Diaman is a sensitive writer and deals with the reality of the AIDS crisis with compassion and understanding but apologizing for nothing. The impact of this book will stay with you.
 
--Sam Tolar,
This Month In Mississippi
 
Castro Street Memories traces the changes in the life of one man and the gradual transformation of a San Francisco neighborhood from the relative innocence of the early seventies to the more sobering reality of the mid-eighties.

1

The phone was ringing when I unlocked the door to my apartment. It was Jeff calling to tell me some friends of his had arrived unexpectedly from Ohio, asking if Michael and I would postpone our trip to the Island until another time. Even though he wanted to see us, there was absolutely no room in the house where he was staying.

Of course, I said yes, despite my disappointment at not being able to spend a weekend away from the noise and unbearable summer heat of the city. So instead of the Pines, Michael and I went to Riis Park on Saturday.

We took the IRT subway to the end of the line at Flatbush and Nostrand, then hitched to the beach. By noon we had staked our claim to a small patch of sand on the already crowded gay section and after settling in, looked around to see who was there.

I don’t remember now who we saw there that particular day, since we always ran into people we knew, often noticed men we dreamed of meeting and invariably witnessed at least one entertaining spectacle which highlighted the continuing drama being played out around us. And during the three years Michael and I were lovers, we may even have provided a few public scenes ourselves.

We lay in the sun for a while, went into the water to cool off, swam out to the wooden float and back, later watched ships passing in the distance and walked along the wet sand. By mid afternoon, people were folding towels and blankets, rolling up mats, packing their belongings for the trip home. As the crowd began to diminish, the beach became quieter, more peaceful.

Michael and I cooked dinner at my apartment that night, using some of the food we had bought to take with us to Fire Island. I prepared the main course while he fixed salad and made dessert.

We ate by candlelight and discussed where we would go dancing later on. A Mozart sonata played softly in the background. It reminded me of those terribly romantic dinners we shared when we were first in love.

During our student days at NYU even the simplest meal together seemed like a feast, though I don’t think Michael and I fully appreciated what we were eating. We spent so much time staring into each other’s eyes and grinning like two idiots then. The food was just an excuse for us to meet before throwing ourselves against each other, tearing off all our clothes and continuing our lovemaking for several more hours.

copyright © 1988 by N. A. Diaman