“The Chelsea Rose” by Jameson Currier from Best Gay Stories 2009 (Lethe Press). Edited by Steve Berman.
The previous piece felt like fiction but is said to be mostly autobiographical. This one feels like memoir but is apparently fiction loosely based on the author’s experiences, an amalgamation of many real people, places and events. It certainly reads as authentic. In fact, convinced that it really was memoir, I almost skipped reviewing it, because I envision this short story project as being about short fiction. It didn’t help matters any that the narrator’s name is Jim.
Also as with the last piece, Jim is looking back at his life from a vantage point of many years. Where that story examined the narrator’s teenage years, this one deals with events from what is now referred to as the “new adult” period of the main character’s life, aka his twenties.
It was the nineteen seventies, and he was living in Chelsea, which hadn’t yet become a gay mecca. A resident in The Chelsea Rose apartment complex, his life became entwined with the lives of several other tenants: Frank, Paul, Keith and, to a lesser extent, Matt. We’re shown how events unfolded over the course of a decade, and the point at which everything twisted, helix-like, to end up the reverse of how it all began.
The author has four collections of short stories. I think at least one will have to be featured here as part of this project.