My Darling Sas
God this letter is hard to write, if you knew the pain this letter is causing, you would probably smile that wistful smile of yours and mutter something about me getting my just desserts.
I have known and loved you for so long, that I would know there was no malice in your comment and I would undoubtedly agree with you.
Somehow, the more business success we achieved, the heavier the load of my double life was to bear.
Steve’s coming out was in some ways a catalyst for what I did this night, in mid-1984.
More importantly, though; was the emergence of the threat of AIDS over the past couple of years.
For fairly obvious reasons, I had become a great student on the emergence of this “Gay Plague”; you and I often discussed after seeing Steve, whether he may have been HIV positive.
There were signs this conjecture was correct; the sores that would not heal, the loss of weight etc. He and I never discussed this at the time, but the threat of what was happening in the gay world weighed heavily on my mind.
I wish I could claim the high moral ground in what I was to do this night, but to be honest, my motivation was selfish.
I could forgive myself many sins and I could justify (only just) the double life I had created, but there was one thing I could never have lived with.
As careful as I had been and, as limited as my experience was, with the demons on the darker side of my life, I was aware of the risks.
The thought of you becoming collateral damage for my sins, was something I would never have been capable of forgiving myself for.
It was confession time.
I am honestly not sure whether I went to dinner with you that night planning on telling you, or whether; the agony of living the lie overcame me sometime during the evening.
I do know I had given a lot of thought as to what may have happened after I told you. I was as prepared as I could be. We were not out of the woods financially, but business was strong enough to make thoughts of separation and divorce possible. The only thing I would take some credit for, was my determination to support you and the kids financially.
I had seen at first hand, the disastrous consequences arising from Steve’s cavalier attitude to his family commitments in the wake of his divorce from Madeline, and I was horrified.
There was a hope that somehow you and I could emerge from this confession as friends, but I knew this was impossible unless I met my financial obligations.
I loved you and I loved our children, there was simply no way I could walk away from the family we had created.
It was after main course, I had been stuttering around the subject for hours, until finally you asked me.
“Bruce are you trying to tell me you are like Steven?”
God, I was so weak, you had to make my confession for me!
We did not stay for dessert and went home together, not saying much, both locked in our own thoughts.
I vomited when we got home; it must have been the food!
Over the next few weeks, we would discuss our future without bitterness or rancor. More than anything else, this sums up the love and respect we had for each other and I will never forget the kindness you showed at this most difficult of times.
Nothing was ever actually resolved at that time and we would stay together for the next five years.
What had been achieved?
Honesty, safety and an unbreakable friendship – I guess that is not a bad result!
Thank You Sas