He was René and no one else.
René suddenly feels like an old man. He is both comforted and annoyed by the officious care provided by his Russian nurse, Olga. René just wants to keep dressing elegantly, as in the old days of playing piano in women-only cabarets. What if a friend—or lover—decides to visit? And they do. René is soon joined by the writer Johnie, the musician Doudouline, the theologian Polydor, the painter l’Abeille, and Gérard, a lover of forbidden pleasures. They support each other, offering shelter from the cold, snowy world outside. They celebrate together, intoxicated, convincing each other that no ill fate can reach them in their cocoon. They reminisce about past loves, tragedies, fights. The Stonewall riots. The AIDS pandemic where they lost so much. They steel themselves to take on the monster of bigotry and intolerance whenever it rears its ugly head, as it always does, again and again. Most of all, they find comfort and hope in each other’s presence, and in the fight that so many are continuing: to assert our own identities, and not be defined by what society expects.