When I was 18, my mother gave me an address book for my birthday. I've hauled it from apartments in Champaign, Illinois to Atlanta, from Chicago to New York and to some nine separate apartments and houses in Washington, D.C., finally dragging it to Barcelona and now Stockholm, not to mention countless holidays here and there. It's ragged, and some of the pages are so full I have to put new addresses under people's first names. But I'm unwilling to get a new one because I can't bear to throw away the addresses of the dead.
The man who I helped take care of who died of AIDS in the late eighties. My crazy roommate in Barcelona. My best friend's first lover. The director of the Washington Mozart Choir. My first love. All my grandparents. My uncle Ed, my uncle Gerald, my uncle Wilbur. A guy I hardly knew from film school.
Suicides, accidents, illness, old age.
It's a memorial, and a memento mori, my address book.
The Swedish word for the day is påminnelse. It means reminder.
- by Francis S.