It was 1993 and I was back in Sydney, living in the Cross, with Marco now firmly in residence. I have often wondered what the kids made of this charming South American, who was a constant presence in my life.
When the kids came to stay, Marco would move to the third bedroom, but other than this, he was part of our lives, with breakfasts and times out with the kids. Annie in particular, was close to him and they would spend most of their time together, gently laughing at her father’s expense.
You and I both realised the time was fast approaching when the kids had to be told, but this was the perfect calm, before the storm had to be confronted.
You had been casually seeing the man from Wollongong but this had petered out and your fortieth Birthday was looming in June. Marco was insistent we should do something at our place to celebrate this milestone.
It was a pity, the night turned so nasty weatherwise and several people could not make it, but your mum and dad were there as were many friends and of course; the kids.
Marco fancied himself as a chef and was insistent he would oversee the catering, I was relegated to drinks waiter, while you enjoyed your night with family and friends.
I was delighted our little family could get together and work as one, for this special night. I was farewelling Ossie and Esme, when your mum drew me aside and stunned me with these words.
“Bruce, I really like your new man, please thank him for making this night so special for Sas”
Up until that time, I was not aware you had told your folks about my sexuality, I was shocked to hear they knew, as well as being awed by what Esme had just said
Those simple, good people never ceased to amaze me.
Our Twentieth Wedding Anniversary loomed in mid-September, Marco had moved out by this time and I was a single man again.
The fifteenth of September coincided with the visit of several US warships to Sydney and you had cheekily suggested we should go out for the night.
“We might both get lucky”
In the end, we settled on a quiet dinner at a little Italian Restaurant and I rang the Maitre D, who I had gotten to know quite well; to organise a quiet table and a bottle of French champagne.
The restaurant was a converted old terrace with lots of small rooms, we were surprised when, towards the end of the night, the staff all trooped in to sing Happy Anniversary.
You and I had been to this restaurant several times before, so the staff were not to know the irony of which they were singing.
The surprise on the faces of the table of gay men as we walked past following this noisy celebration, was a sight to be seen.
I knew some of these guys quite well and it took a bit of explaining when I next saw them; but explaining your’ s and my relationship was nothing new.
Towards the end of the year, I was putting together the plans for a State Manager’s seminar to plan for 1994.
It had been a momentous year for the business and Brian suggested we use the “Mantaray” as a venue and invite spouses so we could thank everyone for their contribution to our success over the year.
I was delighted to be able to include you and the kids in this adventure, Kayla decided to not join us as she was campaigning for Captain in her last year of Primary School.
“Kay for sure in ‘94” robbed us of her presence, but you, Jassy and Annie flew with me to Cairns to meet the rest of the team and we set off on the boat, for two nights on the Great Barrier reef.
I would meet with my team for most of the day while you and the other wives, spent your days on the deck, lazily enjoying the sun and the snorkeling. We would all join you later in the day for a lazy swim, before having dinner and drinks together, as the evening closed into the night.
In many ways, 1993 was the year, when our disparate lives and our family, found their balance.
The shadows of Paul’s homophobia and the discomfort of my broken leg were much easier to deal with when I could talk with you and know you were on my side.