1989 was our first Christmas as a separated couple, we spent it together at Bright with the kids, thus setting a trend which was hardly to be broken over the next twenty-eight years.
We packed up the little van and left early in the morning, on Saturday 23 December for the 7 hour drive down. We would have looked like any other married couple heading off on a Christmas camping holiday together.
We were determined to make this separation as painless as possible for the kids, this was not hard, we were friends and we had managed to traverse the territory thus far, with almost no animosity.
I remember walking into the Allawah unit after we had returned home very early in 1990 and finding a long piece of cornice had fallen and was lying across my bed; a result of the Newcastle earthquake which had happened on 28 December.
We were not long home in 1990 before I headed off to Orlando with a stack of orders from the kids for the latest Mario games to bring home to them.
The possibility of me moving to Melbourne, had been discussed, but at this stage it was no more than a half-developed idea.
The phone calls whilst I was away, would have given you some idea of what had happened in Orlando and when I got home I was busting to tell you in more detail. It may seem strange to anyone else that I wanted to talk about my first real gay love affair with my ex-wife but we were more than ex husband and wife, you were my best friend.
I think I had seen you maybe three times, since I had been back but each time we had been with the kids either at your place or at dinner at our Chinese place in Hurstville.
As you are painfully aware, I am not the most sensitive person on earth and I had failed to pick up on any signs anything was amiss.
I was in the office in Sydney when Tracey told me Ian was on the phone, it took a while to register just who Ian was, but he was of course, your boss at the Brokerage where you were now working.
“Bruce, Sas is not well and I have send her home, she is very upset and I think you should go and see her straight away”
I dropped everything and headed down to your place, all manner of thoughts swimming around in my minuscule mind.
I walked in to find the saddest Sas I have ever seen, I sat down and asked what the problem was. Quite possibly, I was not the most sensitive of people at this time.
My guilt and love deepened with every word you uttered.
“Bruce, I could stand us separating because you were gay, but this is different, now you have gone and found another younger woman”
It took some time for this to sink in and I uttered, possibly the stupidest thing I have ever said.
“Sas what are you talking about, who is this other woman?“
Suddenly, it all became clear, even to my befuddled brain. You had sat and listened as the kids had questioned and teased me about my new love, Donna. We had not had any time together, just the two of us and you had believed the myth.
“Sas, Donna has balls! His real name is Kevin and he does not like being called Donna”
“Donna is a man?”
“Yes Sas, Donna is a man! the whole Donna thing was invented for the kids”
“You told them that Donna was about 5’10”, she was slim and pretty”
“That is all true, except that she is a he and he; probably would not like being called pretty”
It was beyond my limited brain power to have ever thought you would not have seen through the subterfuge, but as I reflected on the weeks since I had been home, it all became crushingly clear.
My God; I was so saddened, so sorry and so mortified I had caused you this pain.
We had a cup of tea and I went back to work, the humblest human being on earth, reflecting on the love you had for me and how totally insensitive I had been.
Ah Sas, we were certainly a different couple.