It was a bleak Sunday morning and you and I were to have brunch, I told Gram that this was the morning of my “coming out” to you, he simply said.
“I will be here, when you get back”
I told him not to worry, you were probably the daughter I feared least, when it came to facing my sexuality and I was even looking forward to shedding this skin with you.
“I will be here, Bruce” were the last words I heard from him, as I walked out to meet you, there was something mildly foreboding in the way he said it.
We went to the café on the corner of Oxford and Flinders Street, I can’t remember which incarnation this café was going through at the time, but it was a good place for a coffee and chat.
The morning did not go as planned.
Somehow, between leaving home and catching up with you, I had lost my courage. We shuffled through brunch without me doing what I had set out to do, you must have wondered what the hell was going through my mind as I waffled from one totally irrelevant subject to the next.
Brunch wound up without any resolution. As we were walking out, I picked up a copy of the “Star Observer”.
“Isn’t that the Gay paper?” you almost snapped the question at me.
“Yes, darling it is”
“What are you doing with it?”
“Annie, I live in the Cross and if you want to know what is happening around here, this is almost the local paper”
Oh, the weasel words of a coward!
I had a copy of the Sunday paper as well and you promptly told me to put the Star Observer inside that so no one would see it.
“Annie this is silly, you know heaps of gay people”
“Well, we could start with Gram”
“Is Graham Gay?” this seemed to me the stupidest question you could have asked, Gram made little or no effort to hide his sexuality.
“Annie, you are not that dumb” was my retort.
You thought about this for a while and then asked “Well who else is gay?”
“Well, Ian is Gram’s partner, in case you haven’t noticed”
I then proceeded to rattle off the names of half a dozen friends who you knew quite well.
“Are all your friends gay?”
I was then forced into a classic bit of silliness as I rattled of the names of friends who were not gay.
Our “pleasant” Sunday morning ended and I went home to Gram with my tail between my legs.
I told Gram what had happened, he looked at me quizzically and asked.
“Bruce, am I given to understand that you went this morning to out yourself to your daughter, but; in the process of NOT telling her about yourself, you have outed almost every one of your gay friends”
“That just about sums it up”
This conversation became Gram’s party trick for months to come, he would joyously replay it to various audiences.
The week went by and I knew I had to set the record straight so next Sunday, you and I again headed out for brunch at the Fountain Café in the Cross.
The same waffling prelude as I tried to find the courage to tell you.
“Dad, what are you trying to say?”
“I am getting to that Annie, give me time”
“Well hurry up, you promised to take me shopping”
You were fifteen at the time, how dare I cut into your shopping time!
“Dad, are you trying to tell me you are gay”
God knows what thoughts had gone through your mind over the past week, but at last; the dreaded subject was on the table.
“Yes Annie, I am trying to tell you I am gay, I obviously have not done a very good job of it”
“No, you haven’t, but now that is out of the way, can we please go shopping”
I paid the bill and we toddled off, hand in hand.
Shopping waits for no one or no reason.
I was telling Gram about it later and he eloquently summed up my cowardice.
“Week one; you out all your friends but forget to out yourself. Week two of this Soap Opera; you are outed by the very person you were trying to tell”
Annie, I love you dearly, but never more than that morning.