There was an unspoken but growing inevitability that our time together as man and wife was coming to an end. I think we both knew this, but neither of us was in any hurry to make a final break.
I was constantly away in 1988, either interstate, overseas or in the country.
The times I was in Sydney were marked by very long days so we did not see a lot of each other and I was seeing less of the kids. We did manage from memory, to do things on most weekends and our once a week, Chinese dinner was a tradition that was very rarely broken.
It is strange, but I can’t remember what the final spur was, for me to move out of home for a period. I was sharing a house across the river in the Sutherland Shire Hire but it didn’t last very long and I doubt many people were even aware I was not at home.
I became quite sick and you invited me back to the sun room. I think it was probably a broken heart as I dealt with the finality. I missed the family dreadfully, the thought of a gay life lost its appeal as I started to comprehend the loneliness without my best friend and the kids.
I was sharing a house and the kids did not feel free to come and go as they pleased, this was undoubtedly, a big factor in ending this short-lived adventure.
The sun room was to become my residence for most of the next 12 months, god knows what the kids thought of this arrangement, but somehow; things worked out and I remember this time as being very special. It was almost as if, once we had taken the pretense out of our lives; we found a new and better way to be a family.
Business life was moving at a frenetic pace but now I was at home again, your support was as always, absolute
Towards the end of July, I flew out to a function on Friday afternoon, arriving back in Sydney 8.40 am the next morning. I spent Saturday with you and the kids before you and I headed to the Bell’s Ball at Randwick Racecourse that night, I remember Andrew saying how happy we looked, as we danced the night to its conclusion.
On Sunday, I was to fly out at 6.00 am for the start of our first major state conference at Coffs Harbor which would run for three days. These types of schedules were not unusual, so there were many times when the sun room was unused, but it was always my haven.
We did manage to take the kids up to Expo 88 in Brisbane and to have a couple of days of wonderful family time, this time was special.
There have been many times when I have resented my sexuality, but there have been very few times when the gap between the life we had, and another life, looked so stark as it did, at this time.
I went off to Hong Kong and Taiwan for a couple of days in November for a property investment seminar. I remember making time in a very hectic couple of days, to shop for something special to bring home to everyone, nothing was more important.
In mid-December, we headed back to Queensland for Christmas holidays, this would be the first year we weren’t going to be in Bright at Christmas for a very long time.
This Christmas day was spent sitting around in the apartment at Mermaid Beach watching the kids open their presents and then heading down to the beach so they could try out their new bathers etc.
We both knew we were living on borrowed time but it was as if, we had both decided to make the best of this time.
You must have flown back to Sydney after Boxing Day, because I remember driving home alone with the kids just before New Year.
The hairbrush microphones were out in force and the discordant singing voices of a father and his three daughters echoed across the plains and through the mountains as we sang up every song the driver knew and quite a few he didn’t.
In mid 19889, you and I were chatting and you asked the question I had been dreading.
“Bruce, don’t you think it is time we each got on with our lives?”
You were right of course. For the last 8 months I had been living in a fools paradise. All the comforts of home, whilst still enjoying the relative freedom to live my life independently.
I was heading off again on the Monday after this discussion, I think my throwaway line in response, was along the lines of “OK, but I am away for the next couple of weeks so you will have to find me somewhere to live”
I was in Queensland I think, when I found myself fielding questions from several of our offices in the area, wondering “What the hell was going on?”
You didn’t waste any time in starting to get rid of me LOL
We finally settled on a new apartment in Allawah, close enough; so the kids could walk between the two homes if they wanted to.
There was one Saturday morning, I was moving in to my new home and I was taking a spare single bed to the unit so there would be somewhere for the kids to sleep. We decided to put the mattress on the roof of the car and try to avoid the law. It was almost a game to the kids, as they sat in the car hanging on to the ropes to keep the mattress from blowing off.
There was the Sunday, you and I went shopping for all the things i would need in my new home. We were wandering round K Mart with two trolleys full of mops, buckets, brooms, a dinner service, sundry kitchen implements etc.
An elderly couple saw us walking around and laughing, the lady remarked to her husband something along the lines of “isn’t that sweet, a young couple setting up house together”
You said to me “if only they knew, it was a wife forced to go shopping, to get rid of her gay husband”
Even in our separation, we found time to have a laugh. The kids seemed to take this separation in their stride, I think it was Jassy who; with the wisdom of a twelve year old said “oh well, I guess we have two homes now”
We had decided jointly we would not tell the kids the real reason for the break up until they were older. We settled on Sixteen as an arbitrary figure, there would be many people who may not agree with this, but it worked for us
Somehow Sas, we managed a marriage break up with dignity and humor. There was sadness of course, but there was goodwill and love as well