A lunch that changed our lives

Dear Affy

It started with a simple request in, I think; March 1985.

You wandered into my office and asked whether you could buy me lunch.

After three years of success, partnership and friendship a more astute person may have discerned the dissatisfaction and restlessness stirring beneath this simple request.

With all that was happening in other aspects of my life, though, I was guilty of taking your friendship and our business for granted.

You did not know the turmoil boiling between Sas and myself. This was not a reflection on you or my faith in you, it was simply something that Sas and I were trying to work out between ourselves.

“Bruce I want to travel; I want you to buy me out” those words hit me hard, perhaps harder than you knew.

A multitude of thoughts flashed through my mind; finding the money to buy you out, the delicate state   of my marriage, the thought of running the business without you and the unresolved demons still haunting me.

Did I want to continue living in this city which, whilst it had been kind to me, would not have been nearly as welcoming if my sexuality became a topic of conversation?

Eight years after this conversation in 1993, the man who was to become the Federal Member for the local electorate, was to write an opinion piece for the local paper headed “Sordid Homosexuality becoming more entrenched”

It is safe to say my fears were not unfounded in 1985!

It didn’t take long for me to make up my mind.

“Affy let’s sell the business”

“Bruce, this is your dream, you could not really want to do that”

“I do, now let’s get back to work”

There was no plan, just an understanding and realization this chapter of our lives was ending.

Within days, the planets had aligned and we had a buyer!

I rang Michael in Sydney to tell him what was happening, his response was surprisingly succinct.

“What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know, but I think we will be leaving Wagga, we will probably head to Sydney or Melbourne and I will go back to selling houses, I am good at that”

“Why don’t you come and work with me for while”

I was surprised, Michael and I had been at loggerheads for months. He certainly knew I did not agree with him over the direction he was taking the group.

“Why, would you do that?”

Lyndon Johnson once said “it is better to have your enemies inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside pissing in”

“You are good at what you do, you understand this business and I think we can work together”

Sas and I spoke about it, within two months our lives had been uprooted.

Affy, much has happened between you and I, since that time. I am delighted the mutual friendship, love and respect we forged in those heady days has never waned.

Not for the last time will I say

Thank you, old mate,

Bruce

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