Back to Sydney 1999

Dear James

You were one of the most interesting people I have ever spent part of my life with. Intelligent, articulate, strong and fiercely independent.

You were also quirky, having being raised in a privileged Malaysian family you were a product of many of the traits inculcated in you as a child, when the nannies ruled.

I remember friends coming one day and asking where you were?

“He is in the bathroom, eating mangoes”

They looked at me askance and I had to explain that my nearly thirty-year-old boyfriend, a University educated man with a responsible career, was reduced to a child when dribbling fruit was concerned.

You would retreat to the bathroom, seat yourself in the tub and for the next half hour you would eat with abandon before having a shower and emerging as an adult again.

There were so many things I loved about you and I hoped our futures would be entwined for years to come.

I was a work in progress at the time, a man torn between family and an emerging gay life, a person preoccupied with building a business, and; if I am being perfectly honest, a man gradually emerging from the depths of a black depression.

I had arranged to go bike riding in Centennial Park with the kids while we were in Sydney and I had forced you to come along.The kids were upset their time with Dad was to be shared, and you, in turn; felt uncomfortable. It was mistake, I was still feeling my way in this gay Dad caper and I had tried to force things before everyone was ready..

There was some resentment on your part after Christmas and this caused an argument about your place in my life. I did not realise the full intensity of your feelings and I was shocked when you told me in January 1999 you were leaving, the finality of your decision came as a complete surprise.

We parted as much as you can in these circumstances, as friends, but the hurt was deep and much of the healing I had done over the past couple of years, was undone.

In many ways, your decision was the catalyst which caused me to revisit the offer I had rejected for the business late in 1998. My reasons for staying in Melbourne revolved around you and the business. Now that you were leaving, the business was not enough on its own, to cause me to stay.

The lure of family in Sydney was too much to ignore.

Within literally a matter of days, the sale of the business had been effected and, by the start of February 1999 I had moved back to Sydney and another chapter in my life.

James, it is hard to remain friends with someone who had come to mean so much to me, when this love had been taken away so suddenly. The move back to Sydney also mitigated against us seeing each other and building bridges as friends. We lost touch but I have never forgotten you.

I hope your life has been all that you wanted.

I still smile when I think of the good times.

Love

Bruce

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